The National Farmers Union (NFU) is speaking out in strong support of one of its valued members. The Best family, David, Heather, Brian, Dale, Greg, and their families are facing a possible devastating loss. Their potato farm is under threat. It’s not just a farm. It’s not just a livelihood. It is their life.
David Best says, “For years we couldn’t do anything wrong, and then these past years we can’t seem to do anything right”. The NFU knows that this competent farm family has every reason to be bewildered. Their present situation is not their fault. They are good farmers. They make their decisions with great care. They do not buy new machinery, if what they have serves them well.
The NFU has seen too many good farmers go down, caught in the same confusing and hurtful bind. Many of the farms which are no longer in operation lose ground because of forces outside their farm. The NFU knows that a farm family can rarely recover from a series of misfortunes like the loss of crop sales due to the threat of diseases, weather patterns, and uncontrolled fluctuation in prices. They know how unfriendly the marketplace is for farm families. Most farmers in financial difficulties know in their heads that this is true, but often, deep down, they tend to blame themselves.
Steven MacKinnon, NFU District Director, points out that the Best family farm has contributed untold amount of wealth to the local and Island economy, including the interest they have already paid on their farm debts. “It is sad that after fifty years of hard work that the family could end up with nothing.”
The Best family has had the courage to go public with their situation, even though this is very painful for any farm family to do. But now that it is in the public domain, on the internet, and in local media, the community has an opportunity to share in the thoughts and feelings of these neighbours. The Bests appreciate all the gestures of support they are receiving, from the Kensington variety concert to cards and letters as well as the contributions they are receiving in person and via the internet. The family’s immediate objective is to satisfy the creditors in order to have the mortgage sale cancelled so the farm can remain in the hands of the Best family.
It is in the community interest to keep Best Acre Farms in operation. It is against the best interests of the society to continue to let family farms disappear. Edith Ling, NFU Women’s District Director, says, “It is time for our society to take responsibility: we cannot go on losing more and more family farms. We have to speak up for this way of farming. We have to defend the farm families like the Bests.” Consumers are paying a healthy price for produce at the grocery stores, but there is too little of the consumer dollar staying at the farmgate. Not many people are working for the same wages as they received forty years ago. Potato prices this past winter were the same as they were forty years ago yet farm input costs have increased eight to ten times over what they were during the same time period.
Donations can be made at: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/saving-best-acre-farms or at any Canadian branch of the Bank of Nova Scotia (acct. # 307830019186) or any branch of TD Canada Trust (acct #56836108480) across Canada.
National Farmers Union District 1, Region 1
Contact: Edith Ling, Women’s District Director, NFU District 1, Region 1, North Winsloe (368-1262)
Steven MacKinnon, District Director, NFU District 1, Region 1, New Argyle (675-3426)