our land base because they are higher in value. Land is very competitive,
especially good vegetable growing ground. Both the fresh market people
and the processing people, I have to go out and compete with for ground.”
In Florida, Rob describes how the rural regions have changed: “Like the
Florida Citrus Commission, the rules are rigged. And everything is geared
to help out the Big Shots. They ain't looking after the little people. That is
long gone. Little packinghouses like this, there used to be thirteen of them
in Crescent City. I am the last one left in all of the county. It used to be small
growers were with twenty to forty acres. Now small growers are a hundred
to two hundred acres. They have done a good job of pushing out the little
In many regions, land prices are skyrocketing because of the encroach-
ment from suburban sprawl. Joel knows this issue, as the suburbs of Chicago
are pressing further out in his direction. “People by the city are getting
bought out for these huge amounts - $20,000 and $30,000 an acre. And
they just move west and find a nice place. Farmers sell out and then have
money to buy farmland further out.” Joel is renting his farmland from his
uncle, and he is worried. “Unfortunately, it doesn't make me feel very good.
People come into his office and say, 'Is your farm for sale?' He tells them no.
So I don't know. We will farm until we can't farm here anymore. It would
just be nice if my son wanted to farm, that he would have that chance.”
But it's an uncertain future for many rural areas, as land prices increase and
farming opportunities decrease.
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PgEnds: T E X
Po licies and Information
Organic farming is influenced both directly and indirectly by several com-
ponents of U.S. agricultural policy. First, the new USDA National Organic
Standards may impact markets and production. Second, organic certifica-
tion influences farmers' techniques and ability to market through distinct
channels. Third,most national and state agricultural policies are not tailored
for organic farmers, but they often still affect them. Finally, policies and pro-
grammatic funding greatly influence the types of research conducted and
whether the results are relevant to organic producers.
The USDA National Organic Standards went into effect on October 21, 2002.
Organic farmers have mixed feelings about the potential of this new policy,
the motivations behind it, and the consequences it will have for them. In