Farmers and the State: local knowledge and self-help in rural environmental management

Lockie, Stewart (1994) Farmers and the State: local knowledge and self-help in rural environmental management. Regional Journal of Social Issues, 28. pp. 24-36.

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The industrialisation of agriculture, and its integration into international circuits of capital, bas led to the development of numerous environmental and social pathologies. A key part of this process has been the loss of power from the local level to corporate agribusinesses and the dictates of international markets. Through its agricultural policies, the state in Australia bas actively supported this trend. This has led to a number of calls for a devolution of power back to the family farmer. These range from a reinstitution of the value of farmers' local knowledge to various forms of cooperative and communal organisation. Apparently paradoxically, the state has also supported such developments through the development of the Landcare program. Landcare, and other self-help programs, can be seen however as attempts by the state to maintain its own legitimacy by abrogating responsibility to address issues whilst devoting the vast bulk of its resources to fostering conditions for capital accumulation. In the case of agriculture this means promoting further capital centralisation-through farm foreclosure and amalgamation-and capital penetration by agribusiness. Calls for reinstating the legitimacy of local knowledge and cooperative activity must recognise the constraints placed on these activities by both the structural forces affecting farmers' decisions and the wide spatial and temporal dimensions of environ-mental problems. Whilst such approaches are important and necessary, their limitations should be appreciated and the need for appropriate state action recognised.

Item ID: 67772
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 0158-7102
Date Deposited: 16 Jun 2021 22:57
FoR Codes: 30 AGRICULTURAL, VETERINARY AND FOOD SCIENCES > 3002 Agriculture, land and farm management > 300202 Agricultural land management @ 100%
SEO Codes: 28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280101 Expanding knowledge in the agricultural, food and veterinary sciences @ 100%
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