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U.S. organic farmer speaks to campesinos in Canc¨n

(Saturday, Sept. 13, 2003 -- CropChoice guest commentary) -- The following is the Sept. 9 statement from Wisconsin organic dairy farmer Jim Goodman to the Campesino Forum in Canc¨n, Mexico.

by Jim Goodman

I speak to you today as a small organic farmer from the United States. Although they tell us ours is the richest and most powerful nation on earth, our farmers, our workers and our indigenous peoples do not share that wealth. Just as our industrial agricultural system dictates which crops will be raised and what prices will be paid, it also enslaves not only the farmers of the north, but you the campesinos, the indigenous and the landless of the south. Northern farmers are caught in the trap of buying the GM seeds, the chemicals and the fertilizers that the multi-national corporations force them to accept. We are all prisoners.

Northern farmers accept low crop prices hoping government subsidies will keep them in business, but knowing, that all along the profits are intended for the Monsantos and the Cargills of the world. Excess production, in the mind of the northern farmer, is the only method of survival. In reality, however, it will eventually be there their downfall. The GM seeds will eventually fail, the government subsidies will eventually end and neither our un-elected government nor the WTO will save us. While we blindly follow the path that was plotted for our government and the WTO by these multi-national corporate giants, we will not only ruin our futures, but yours as well.

I and other organic farmers have turned to a better system of farming, one that respects the environment, honors the contributions of women and promotes connections between farmers and consumers through local marketing. Despite the fact that we strongly disagree with most of what our president promotes around the world, we are still a part of our country and must bear some of its guilt. I apologize for the imperial designs our nation seems to have on the world. I apologize for our misguided agricultural policies that threaten to ruin your livelihoods through the dumping of GM grain. I apologize for our governments policy of allowing corporations to turn the WTO, the World Bank and the IMF into tools of corporate domination that are imposed upon your lives.

They hope to divide us, pit farmer against farmer, farmer against consumer, North against South. We will not let this happen. We are winning and they know it. They know they must control us because, ultimately we are right and they are wrong. Money and power will ultimately fail, while our families, our connection to the land and our solidarity will win.

James Goodman
Wonewoc WI, United States