the Green Revolution it had made soneffective was probably coming to anclose, not only in America but all overnthe world. In the twenty years betweenn1970 and 1989, drought in the AfricannSahel became almost permanent;nNorth American harvests were characterizednby four droughts, each of thenlast three worse than the one before,nand at least five regional crop fiascos;ndrought, winterkill, or other forms ofnextreme weather jeopardized at leastnsix harvests of the four main foodnproducers (the United States, China,nthe USSR, and India). At the most,nonly five or six of these twenty yearsnwere as free as the preceding thirtynyears from weather-related crop busts.nAs of this writing, parts of the WesternnCornbelt are even drier than at thentime of the 1988 drought and 1989npartial drought. When Farming magazinenasked Louis Thompson, the IowanState agronomist and prime mover ofnthe report that so failed to move SecretarynButz, “Is our weather more variablenthese days?” Dr. Thompson replied:n”Heavens, yes! It is the mostnvariable since the ’30’s . . . The variabilitynhas been increasing since 1974,”ngrowing most pronounced during thenlast three years. He sees crop failurenahead.nIn agriculture, we must go back tonsquare one and start over. This newnstart should begin not with “justice fornthe farmer,” not with arguments aboutnfarm prices, not with shibboleths ofnmarket prices versus taxpayer subsidies,nbut with a set of principles.nThe first of three affirmative principlesnis “strong families.” Even today,ndespite the technological revolution ofnthe past hundred years, most Americannfarmers retain elements of family management.nEncouraging a complete revivalnof family farming should be thenfirst objective of a national agriculturalnpolicy — not only because of the superioritynof family values, but becausenonly family farming is likely to be ablento meet the agricultural challenges ofnthe 1990’s and beyond (includingnprobable food shortages). Evidencenpresented by Marty Strange in his booknFamily Farming makes it clear thatneven today (and despite propaganda tonthe contrary) moderately-sized farmsnrun by families are more efficient thannthe larger ones run by corporations.nThe latter are comparatively prodigal •n56/CHRONICLESnin incurring costs. As the costs of farmninputs rise, as they have been doingnand are almost sure to continue to do,nthe superiority of family farming innkeeping production costs down can benexpected to overwhelm the advantagesnof industrial farming (more governmentalnsubsidies, better access to capitalnand credit markets, vertical integration,nmarketing superiority, savingsnfrom bulk buying and selling, and sonon). Resurgent family farming mayneven maintain higher yields on a sustainablenbasis than corporate farmingnwith its built-in bias for the short run.n”Free enterprise” is another principlenthat fits farming perhaps better thannany other occupation. It should benimplicit in any agricultural policy.n”Enterprise” really means “work,” andn”free” means ability to act in accordancenwith one’s own judgment rathernthan from overt or covert coercion.nThe meaning of free enterprise innfarming, then, is close to the meaningnof family farming.nToday, farming is not free. The lownprices likely to result from governmentnaction require the lavish use of chemicalnfertilizers and pesticides that promisenimmediate high yields, even thoughnfarmers are coming increasingly to seenthat they poison soil and groundwatern(as well as the farmers themselves).nOff-farm jobs, which for many farmersnmean survival, also mean hurryingnthrough activities they would like tontake their time with. Participation inngovernment programs may be lucrativenbut requires farmers to override theirnbetter judgment in planting whatnwhere.nThirdly, we must discard the notionnthat “national defense” refers only tonthe military and its hardware. Japan’snnational defense already concentratesnon making other nations economicallyndependent on it, and on using thenforeign exchange such nations so convenientlynprovide to buy some of theirnassets — and so influence their policies.nWestern Europe, until recently dependentnon grain from North American(and, long ago, from Russia and EasternnEurope), seems to regard its enormousnagricultural subsidies, whichnhave made it not only almost selfsufficientnin food but converted it intona grain exporter and U.S. competitor,nas a defense against both the badweathernfamines it knew so well cen­nnnturies ago, and the dependency it knewntwo decades ago. Brazil’s wholesalenconversion of its abundant sugarcaneninto ethanol for motor fuel is nationalndefense against an energy shortage,nloss of foreign exchange, OPEC.nGorbachev may be coming to regardnRussia’s military hardware more as anbargaining chip to gain access to Americannfood supplies and consumer goodsnthan a way of ensuring his country’sndefense.nIf agriculture is accepted as an instrumentnof national defense, a nationalnagricultural policy should call fornmaximum production consistent withnlong-range sustainability and conservationnneeds. When such a policy producesnsurpluses, such surpluses couldneither be taken off the market to put innreserve, or converted to ethanol tonreduce dependency on foreign oil —nwhich the Department of Energy saysnwould otherwise reach 60 percent byn1995.nThere are also two “negative” principlesnthat apply equally well to agriculture.nFirst is “limited government”: wenshould severely restrict government involvementnin agriculture — and, in thenI990’s, farmers themselves may wellnbe in the vanguard calling for just this.nWhile early-century farmers clamorednfor a government-controlled floor tonagricultural prices, by the late 1980’snthe floor was becoming a ceiling. Thenprice of a bushel of corn averagedn$2.52 in 1979. Between then andn1989, the general price level rose morenthan 70 percent. But instead of followingnthis rise to more than $4.00, thenprice of a bushel of corn dipped belown$2.00 in the summer of 1989, despitenthe corn demand/supply relationshipnbeing roughly the same as ten yearsnbefore. The main reason for the pricendrop was that government price support,nin 1989, was $1.65 comparednwith $2.10 in 1979.nFinally, there is the necessary oppositionnto “universalist ideology.” Farmingnin Russia and elsewhere has beennruined by communism. The ideologiesnof “farm relief,” “progress,” “paritynprices,” and “free trade” are onlynslighfly less destructive. All shift thenfocus away from the individual, and allndiscourage the farmer from engagingnwith the unexpected. Even the generalizationnthat reliance on “market forces”nis always the thing to do is ann