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LETTER: Sowing the seeds of some good ideas

['In this image from 2012, Dr. Michael Bland checked on some of his animals in a pasture in Wooddale. The animals were destined to local markets and have been a big success for people who want to support local agriculture. However, Dr. Bland says provincial regulations have become a grey area. ']
Dr. Michael Bland checks some of his animals in a pasture in Wooddale. — SaltWire Network file photo

Election time here again, time for a lot of empty promises to get our votes, soon broken and forgotten for the next four years.

As a small farmer for 50 years, I recall promises to help farmers to produce the food security that we need, but we are still waiting. Small farmers can produce a lot more food than we are producing, but the big problem is marketing that produce. It costs a small fortune to get into farming with all the tractors, plows, discs, harrows, seeders, etc., not to mention storage buildings. That is bad enough, but small farmers then have to take on the cost of marketing. Washing and grading equipment, plus a large delivery truck, does not come cheap to buy or maintain. With half the consuming population living on the Avalon Peninsula, while most root crops are grown on farms hundreds of kilometres from the St. John’s/Mount Pearl area, it makes it very hard and uneconomical for small farmers to service those areas.

As a small farmer for 50 years, I recall promises to help farmers to produce the food security that we need, but we are still waiting.

So why produce more than you can sell economically in your own area?

Government should consider setting up one or two large washing/grading stations in areas where the vegetables are grown and take that cost off of individual farmers, and do the marketing in areas where most of the population lives. This would encourage farmers to grow much more and spread the growing and storage cost over many more tons of produce. Farmers could take a lower price for what they produce because they will not have that extra expense that comes with marketing. It could be run by government or private enterprise after the infrastructure is put in place.

Everett Adams

Wooddale

Grand Falls-Windsor area

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