Farm Gate Defence

Wilford, Allen
Publisher:  N.C. Press, Canada
Year Published:  1986  
Price:  $9.95  
Resource Type:  Book
Cx Number:  CX3187

Describes how farmers have been driven to come together to defend their farms in the face of high interest rates, mounting production costs and low prices.

Abstract:  FARM GATE DEFENCE, by Allen Wilford, former president of the Canadian Farm Survival Association describes how farmers have been driven to come together to defend their farms in the face of high interest rates, mounting production costs and low prices.

FARM GATE DEFENCE takes its name from the tactics of farmers who have blocked driveways to stop bailiffs and sheriffs from seizing equipment, live-stock and produce. These farm gate defences have been combined with other actions such as tractorcades and demonstrations at local banks. Penny auctions have been organized in which farmers bid pennies for items worth thousands of dollars to prevent bankruptcy receivers from selling off a farmer's means of livelhood.

These actions have been taken to force the banks to back off and to pressure federal and provinical governments to pass legilation giving farmers relief from foreclosures. In addition, farmers have demanded affordable financial assistance to enable them to continue farming.

Wilford sees ordinary farmers being increasingly driven off their farms which are then taken over by banks which sell them to large agribusiness corporations. These corporations sometimes lease the land back to former owners, in effect turning farmers into employees with no security of tenure. Farm buildings are often demolished when farms are taken over, to make it unlikely that they will ever revert to individual ownership.

FARM GATE DEFENCE says farm bankrupticies are increasing at a frightening rate (up 57 per cent from 1982 to 1983 for example), while banks are piling up record profits. For instance, the Royal Bank recorded a profit of $312 million in the second quarter of 1983. Not only did it not pay any income tax on this profit, but it received $28 million in tax credits.

Wilford calls for farmers to join together, and to form alliances with labour unions and consumer groups. He sees it as crucial for people who feel isolated to know that others share their problems and will stand with them.

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