In May of this year, Bernie Sanders released his Revitalizing Rural America plan. Although there are many issues with his proposals, one that specifically sticks out isn’t easy to notice unless you carefully read through the plan. This part of his plan aims to “incentivize community ownership of farmland to allow more people to work the land and produce food…”
Now what does this mean exactly? Unfortunately, the plan doesn’t go into further detail on this topic, so that leaves a lot up for interpretation.
The next line states, “Make government farmland available as incubator farms….” As I wondered how this plan would play out, I had to consider where this farmland that would now be government and community owned was coming from.
As of 2014, 61 percent of farmland was owner operated, or family farms and 39 percent that was rented to the operator. 31 percent of this rented land was owned by corporations, trusts, or partnerships. This doesn’t leave much land for the government, and most individuals probably are not going to take kindly to their land being given away.
Bernie isn’t the only one who aims to take away private land.
Groups that believe farming is unethical have been working to eliminate farmland for years. One of these groups is the American Prairie Reserve (APR), a prominent organization that aims to buy land from Montana farmers and transform the state into a massive wildlife refuge. The idea in itself isn’t bad, if it wasn’t for the farmers that are being pushed off the land or livestock who will face reintroduced predators. Currently, the organization owns 419,000 acres, but this number is likely to increase. They plan to encompass approximately 3.5 million acres, and manage their land by collaborating with state and federal agencies. As they buy more land, there are more family-farms forced out of business and the agriculture industry suffers.
Though the organization is privately owned, it adds to the problem that many farmers face when purchasing or trying to keep their own land. It makes one wonder if groups like this even realize that there are already farmers working and living on this land. Not only this, but if family farms disappeared the United States economy would be severely affected.
Both Sanders’ plan and other organizations with similar goals approach very dangerous territory, due to the fact that they will likely be taking away private land. Following through on these plans would move the United States towards socialism by allowing the government to take more control of production and land.
Consider the events that took place in the early years of the Soviet Union. In 1929, after years of slow moving transformation, Stalin forcefully took away family operated farms and turned them into collective farms, owned and controlled by the government. This led to a farming famine in Russia in the 1930s. The Soviet Union is not the only example of this type of policy. While discussing socialism, Karl Marx called for the government to take control of production and confiscate all private property. This seems to be exactly what Sanders wants to do.
Not only would the Revitalizing Rural America plan likely have similar effects if put into place within the United States, but it would also greatly limit our freedoms. As Americans, we should be able to live on our own land without fear of the government taking it away in the name of Progress.
Sanders’ plan to “revitalize” farmland in America would likely actually harm those living in rural areas and decrease food production, which is something we do not need with the growing world populations. We need to be able to grow more food, and if the Soviet Unions similar policy was any indication, this plan will likely have the opposite effect. As Americans, we need to recognize when our freedom is being threatened and stand up to the political leaders who aim to take away our important rights.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.