Farmers Say No to War and Terror: 15 Reasons

December 14th, 2008 - by admin

Farms Not Arms – 2008-12-14 22:59:37

And they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. — ISAIAH 2:4

All farmers of the world share the unique privilege and the daunting responsibility of making sure everyone is fed and the land is protected to feed the future generations.

War, and the enormous waste of resources spent in preparing for it, threaten our work.

As farmers, farm-workers and those in the agricultural industry who support them, we come together to oppose the war in Iraq and the dangerous cycle of war and terror that threatens our world.

We come from different political, religious and social backgrounds but share a common concern that this great country of ours, founded by small farmers and craftsmen, return to the spirit and ideals on which we were founded.

We strive for a world that reduces the risk of war by eliminating its causes — poverty, injustice and religious intolerance. We call for all countries to stop misappropriating their resources on war and to focus rather on fighting hunger, disease and protecting our environment and our farmland.

Help us form a group of all those in the agricultural community and their supporters who wish to help turn this world around.

Our group would become part of United for Peace and Justice, a coalition of 1300 local and national anti-war groups. We will be a democratically run organization with our member/supporters electing our officers and approving our activities.

Sign up at our web site or email


As farmers, farm-workers and those in the agricultural industry who support them, we come together to oppose the war in Iraq and the dangerous cycle of war and terror that threatens our world.

Why Farmers Need to Speak Out Against War

• 1) America’s rural communities have taken the hardest toll in both Iraq and Afghanistan. According to the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire, “the death rate for rural soldiers is 60% higher than the death rate for those soldiers from cities and suburbs.”

• 2) We are losing our farmers. There are eight times as many farmers in the US over the age of 65 as there are under the age of 35. This is a national crisis that threatens our very ability to feed ourselves, effecting our quality of life and security of our nation.

• 3) Our veterans are coming back to our same communities. These communities, already lacking in the employment opportunities for its young families, are also lacking in the much needed medical and mental health services. “Our rural members”, says Paul Rieckhoff, President of Iraq and Afghan Veterans of America, “are having the hardest time.”

• 4) The current wars are taking a huge toll on our national treasury. While taxpayer dollars still fund large farm subsidies – done primarily for the benefit of the large multi-national food processors – monies needed for conservation, credit needed for the family farmers, wages needed for the farm worker and help and training needed for the new and start-up farmer are all lacking.

• 5) Since the beginning of the latest Gulf War oil prices have more than tripled. While oil company profits and those of all military related industries have skyrocketed, the American farmer has once again paid his undue share of this unprecedented cost of fuel.

• 6) While the US farmer pays his unfair toll for these wars, so too do the farmers of the countries where the wars are fought. Afghani farmers have turned to opium as the only viable crop in a countryside ravaged by several decades of international forces doing battle in their homeland. The fertile farmland of the Tigris-Euphrates River has been seriously damaged and many of the farm families who haven’t lost members directly to the war have lost their farms to ethnic cleansing.

• 7) We farmers are on the front lines of both global wars and global warming. Higher temperatures, draughts, and erratic weather patterns are hitting us hard already. Going to war with fossil fuels, for fossil fuel is giving our farms a one-two punch while benefiting the very forces that threaten us.

• 8) Control of land, water and food production will become important issues in preventing new wars. As the world’s population continues to grow and resources continue to shrink the issue of food sovereignty – the right for all people to decide what they eat and to ensure that agriculture in their community is fair and healthy for all – will be key to a peaceful world.

• 9) We can change things by changing the way we farm. By creating healthier and more diverse farming systems, with food, fuel and fiber grown closer to where it is consumed, we can rebuild our rural economies, create work for our returning soldiers, promote national security, rebuild our democracy, improve America’s economic and physical health and do more for global warming than any other single change by any other industry.

• 10) We can create a progressive voice for agriculture. By bringing together America’s family farmers, its organic farmers, the farm workers, the new generation of urban gardeners and farmers, along with consumers who demand a safe and just food system we can change the voice of American agriculture.

• 11) Farmers are the biggest workforce in the world. There are more farmers in the world than there are believers of any one religion or followers of any one political dogma. Together with the fishers and the foresters we feed the world, and manage most of its land and water. We can come together in groups like Terra Madre and La Via Campesina that can become powerful, democratic forces in the coming decades.

• 12) A connection to the land is essential to being peaceful people. American writers from Thoreau, Emerson and Whitman, to Scott Nearing and Wendell Berry have shown us that our connection to the land is essential to our spirit as a nation. Generations of Amish, Mennonites and others have chosen farming as part of a simpler life, without need or capacity for violence. And young Americans growing up during the War in Vietnam pushed organic farming as the ultimate statement against a country that had lost its moral center of gravity. More than ever, in a shrinking world, we need to look at how we farm, how we eat, and how we live as both means and ends in our search for a more peaceful and just world.

Will Allen & Kate Duesterberg, Cedar Circle Farm, East Thetford, VT
• Jim Cochran, Swanton Berry Farm, Davenport, CA
• Jim and Rebecca Goodman, Northwood Farm, Wonewoc, WI
• Michael O’Gorman, Just Farms Consulting, San Diego, CA