The general manager of the Christian Farmers of Ontario, John Clement, writes a regular commentary. His latest is an interesting piece of how farm policy increasingly needs to pay attention to the “missing middle.” There are a growing number of small farmers who have less than $100,000 in annual gross sales. Some of these producers serve a domestic market that wants to buy local. There are also a growing number of producers with gross sales of over $250,000 a year. However, there are fewer and fewer producers that would be considered middle size. That’s the “missing middle,” those between $100,000 and $250,000 in gross sales. It may make sense to design different farm programs for farms of different sizes. Some argue that small farms should receive public support through payments for environmental goods and services, while farms operating on a more commercial basis should get their support through income stabilization programs. We’ve never really figured out our farm policy objectives in this country, but the needs of a farm generating less than $50,000 a year in gross receipts are pretty different than one that’s generating more than $500,000.
I’m Kevin Hursh.