Editorial: January 28, 2005

In an interview with Point reporter Sam Harvey this week, Rep. Gerald Hocker stated that the best way to preserve open space is to allow farmers the opportunity to actually make a living by farming — as opposed to circumstances forcing them to sell off lots to keep afloat. In another piece in this week’s paper, the fragility of the farming business was once again brought to focus with the dawning of a fungus appearing in Delaware soy crops.

Add in the influenza that struck poultry farms in the state last year, a county council more interested in transfer taxes than quality of life, land costs escalating through the roof and prices for crops not escalating along with inflation rates, and it’s easy to see why we’re watching much of our rural landscape disappear into a wave of housing developments and office parks.

This is not a situation isolated to our community. Farming across the nation has taken a giant hit with every passing generation not as interested in taking over the family farm and federal commitments to agriculture dwindling by the second. Does it affect all of us? Probably not.

On second thought, it probably does.

Let’s go back to the correlation of a hurting agricultural climate in our community and the lack of open space so many of us bemoan. We complain about traffic from so many more people living here, cookie-cutter developments and the lack of a rural setting. Rep. Hocker was right. It all goes back to farmers not getting the incentives and aid needed to continue the traditions and benefits of the American farmer.

Something needs to be done.

Certainly the county and state could earmark some money for agricultural boosts, but neither one of them has enough resources to really make a big difference. What is needed is more federal funding and allotments.

Forecasters recently projected that this nation will be facing its largest deficit on record this year — nearly $250 billion, according to some. Granted, we are in a war, and deficits happen in times of war. But we need to look out for our own at some point.

Also, we at the Coastal Point would like to thank our readers and advertisers for all your support during our first 52 issues. If the first year is indeed the toughest, thank you for all you have done to make it as painless as you have.