The Spider & The Fly, Agribusiness and the Farmer, The Way it Really is

Publisher:  Report of the National Farmers' Union to the New Brunswick Farmers' Enquiry
Year Published:  1981  
Pages:  23pp  
Resource Type:  Book
Cx Number:  CX2289

This account of potato farming issues in New Brunswick was prepared by the National Farmers' Union for the Farmers' Enquiry in New Brunswick.

Abstract:  This account of potato farming issues in New Brunswick was prepared by the National Farmers' Union for the Farmers' Enquiry in New Brunswick. The main aim of the brief is to look at the relationship between agribusiness and the family farm. The NFU contends that the relationship is like that of the spider and the fly with the corporations spinning the web.

Corporations farm to make a profit; farmers farm to live. Corporations are unconcerned about any kind of operation on the human scale. Farmers ask only to maintain their traditional lifestyle and to determine for themselves what to grow, where and how to grow it.

The author cites examples of the experience of New Brunswick farmers with the McCain group of companies "……each part of the web supports and encourages farmers involvement with the other parts……" The banks encourage the farmers to sign contracts with processors before loans are made. Machinery, feed and seed and fertilizer dealers want to see the contract before they agree to a sale of material. And processors encourage farmers to put more land under cultivation by having them sign a bigger bank loan or a bigger contract.

The NFU challenges the government at the federal and provincial level to publicly recognize the control of corporations over the cost of food and the low prices paid to small farmers. The NFU also challenges the government to deal with corporate control issue.

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