SABBATH

God's Gift to Us
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commentary: The Insatiable Seizing


Martin G. Collins
Given 24-Jul-21; Sermon #1608c; 13 minutes

Description: (show)

The American family farm has become an endangered institution as greedy entities (such as Chinese business interests) are in the process of purchasing parcels of land the size of Ireland or the State of California. Bill Gates alone has purchased 269,000 acres of farmland in twenty states, removing land from independent farmers. The United States Department of Agriculture reveals that 30% of farmland is now rented out, turning farmers from businessmen to employees of digital contract farming controlled by large conglomerates, whose overriding motivation is to make massive profits rather than to feed the world's population. Big Tech has largely turned American agriculture into a proprietary 'company store,' forcefully displacing small market farmers, destroying boundaries and private ownership. Micah 2:1-3 describes the greed which characterizes the mindset of covetous people, bent on ending private property and destroying independent farming enterprises. As the world's agricultural system is under attack, God's people are able to look forward to an inheritance beyond the reach of change and decay, reserved in heaven (I Peter1:3-4).




Perhaps one of the most undervalued and misunderstood industries in the United States is farming. Historically, farming has almost always existed on a larger social scale, from extended families up to whole villages. They worked much more like a single unit with little truly private infrastructure. Draft animals, plows, and even land were often operated at the community level.

But family farming as we know it—nuclear families that own their land, pass it on to heirs, raise some or all their food, and produce some cash crops—is vanishingly rare today. In no way does today’s society reflect the way God intended family and farming and society to be set up.

In the US, policies that supported farmers have been replaced by policies that support agribusiness, and since the 1970s, farmers have had to “get big or get out.” The results have been disastrous! The positive benefits of small farms and family farms is that they are more likely to take care of the environment, produce healthy foods, and support strong rural families and communities. Sadly, these small and family farms are disappearing across America.

Why is that? Because a vast foreign robbery of America’s farming resources is taking place right now. Most Americans are too distracted or disinterested to care, as long as their food arrives at the grocery store or at their local restaurant.

The AgWeb Farm Journal published a report recently, outlining how communist China has “breached the inner walls” of American agriculture, where it is now stripping “machinery, barns, bins, and fields of all valuables.” The truly disturbing part is the insatiable seizing of American farmland by China, which plans to obtain “farmland the size of Ireland by the end of 2021,” according to journalist and documentary filmmaker Lance Crayon.

Ten years ago, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) indicated that it wanted to acquire a farmland mass eight times that size, turning acreage larger than the entire state of California into its own private farming mecca.

Nationwide, the numbers hint at growing global interest in U.S. farmland as an investment opportunity, just like they are the housing, which I mentioned last time I gave a commentary ["Housing and Property Redistribution"]. By the end of 2019, foreign entities held an interest in nearly 35.2 million acres of U.S. agricultural land, representing 2.7 percent of all privately held farmland, according to USDA as of March 3, 2021. Seventy-five percent of the global grain trade is controlled by only four corporations. There is outrage over the takeover of food systems by some of the world’s largest technology companies.

In China, Alibaba has been leading a wave of investments and takeovers by technology companies in the food system, most recently spending $3.6bn to acquire the country’s largest chain of hypermarkets.

In India, similar moves are being made by companies like Amazon and Facebook through the backdoor of e-commerce to take over food distribution and retail in partnership with India’s wealthiest tycoons and the backing of the central government’s reforms. These takeovers of the global food system are targeting every facet of American agriculture.

The US is under attack, not just by China, but also by globalist allies like Bill Gates, who has been quietly parking cash in land assets for at least the past decade. Recently, NBC News reported that the Gates family had acquired more than 269,000 acres of farmland in the US in the past 10 years. Those purchases, made with the help of the Washington-based firm Cascade Investment and several shell companies, include farmland in nearly 20 states that cultivate vegetables.

These details come after the agriculture outlet the Land Report reported in January that the tech billionaire and his wife were the country’s top private farmland owners. Almost 300,000 acres is a lot of land for one family or private individual to own, but it’s still just a small part of the estimated 911 million acres of farmland in the US. While Gates appears to be one of the largest private farmland owners in the country, he’s far from alone in wanting to incorporate farmland into his investment strategy.

As Mother Jones News recently reported,

. . . other large financial firms have sought to purchase agricultural land, too, even if they have no involvement in the day-to-day farming operations. Land Report, the outlet that named Gates the top private farm owner, notes several other families that claim well over 100,000 acres.

The US Department of Agriculture estimates that about 30 percent of US farmland is rented out by owners who serve as landlords and are not involved in farming, like Gates. And the National Farmers Union has suggested that the growing number of non-farmer owners like Gates buying up farmland—and renting it out—could lead to practices that hurt the environment:

Short-term farmers who rent land are less likely to take long-term conservation steps, the organization argues; and non-farmer owners do not have the experience to “understand the importance of protecting natural resources."

More broadly, Gates and other wealthy buyers of farmland have been criticized for contributing to the concentration of land ownership. Because they can usually make higher bids than what local farmers can afford, fewer people end up owning their own farmland.

In April 2021, University of New Mexico professor Nick Estes wrote in The Guardian, that this concentration of land ownership results "in a greater push for monocultures and more intensive industrial farming techniques to generate greater returns,” while Indigenous people and small farmers “are more cautious with the use of land.”

Another negative aspect of global corporate investing is “Digital Agriculture” by Big Tech. GRAIN, a small international non-profit organization, works to support small farmers and social movements in their struggles for community-controlled and biodiversity-based food systems. On February 5, 2021, GRAIN reported:

The Big Tech takeover of agriculture is dangerous! For the corporations investing in digital agriculture, the objective is to integrate millions of farmers into a vast, centrally controlled digital network.

Once integrated, they will be heavily encouraged—if not obligated—to buy their products and to supply them with agricultural commodities; all this, functioning through the mobile money systems being developed by the same companies.

Big Tech’s emerging digital platforms will not help farmers share their knowledge or promote their diverse seed and animal varieties.

The digital platforms will emphasize conformity; participating farmers will have to BUY the inputs that are promoted and sold on credit (at high interest rates), FOLLOW the “advice” of a chatbot to qualify for crop insurance (which they must pay for), SELL their crops to the company (at a non-negotiable price), and RECEIVE PAYMENTS on a digital money app (for which there is a fee).

Any missteps can affect a farmer’s creditworthiness and access to finance and markets. It will be contract farming on a mass scale.

These developments in digital agriculture are not separated from Big Tech’s aggressive moves into food distribution and retail.

In fact, digital agriculture is building the centralized production systems upstream that will supply Big Tech’s evolving operations downstream, which are rapidly displacing the small marketers, vendors, and distributors who have long served to bring foods from small farmers to consumers.

The stage is being set for today’s small farmers to be tomorrow’s indentured servants for Big Tech companies. And if the small farmers or landowners resist, the Chinese, Bill Gates, and Big Tech who have proven to be of the mind of Ahab when he first coveted Naboth’s vineyard, then, through his wife, Jezebel, murdered him, the same thing may happen to the resisting farmer.

Micah 2:1-5 is about the cause of the judgment on Judah. Notice the similarities with what is happening in the US today:

Micah 2:1-5 Woe to those who devise iniquity, and work out evil on their beds! At morning light they practice it, because it is in the power of their hand. They covet fields and take them by violence, also houses, and seize them. So they oppress a man and his house, a man and his inheritance. [So, they do this habitually and continually until God passes judgment against them. Pride is the source of that unlimited covetousness.] Therefore thus says the Lord: “Behold, against this family [of thieves] I am devising disaster, from which you cannot remove your necks; nor shall you walk haughtily, for this is an evil time. In that day one shall take up a proverb against you, and lament with a bitter lamentation, saying: ‘We are utterly destroyed! He has changed the heritage of my people; how He has removed it from me! To a turncoat [traitor] He has divided our fields.’” Therefore you will have no one to determine boundaries….

It is because of the sin of the people that the evil are allowed to do their dirty work! As soon as the sun comes up, the evil covet in heart, then steal in action. With them, coveting is the same as robbing, desiring as taking. They immediately seize what they want by any unethical means without regret. As soon as they covet, they take without shame. They seize inheritances! The merciless damage that is done is not only to one person, but cruelly affects whole families. The evil ruin not only property, but lives. This is an apt description of what is happening today.

However, we need not fret since God has given us a living hope. Our spiritual inheritance is eternal:

I Peter 1:3-4 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you

MGC/aws/dcg

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