Commentary: Delaware farms are here to stay

This month, farmers at the World Dairy Expo in Wisconsin shared worries about the viability of family farms in our current economic climate. United States Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue shrugged off their concerns and said, “In America, the big get bigger and the small go out.” I guess he has never visited the State of Delaware.

Since we became the first state to sign the Constitution in 1787, Delawareans have taken pride in our Small Wonder, and nowhere is that truer than in our vibrant farming community.

Farming is a $1 billion industry here, and is by far the most common way we use our state’s land. Farms here produce everything from Christmas trees to wine, and Delaware farmers are important producers of crops and livestock like lima beans, watermelons, and chickens.

Rep. William Carson

Most importantly, however, of the 2,500 farms in our state, 90% are family-owned, and the median farm size in Delaware is half the national median, with most farms here being under 50 acres.

These family farms, the backbone of Delaware’s agricultural industry, are exactly what Secretary Perdue wrote off in his appearance at the World Dairy Expo. In fact, between reckless and damaging tariffs on crops like soybeans and massive tax breaks to the largest corporations, including some factory farms, the federal administration seems to be trying its hardest to put family farmers out of business.

In our small state, however, we remain committed to sticking up for small farms. As chair of the House Agriculture Committee, I hear from farmers across our state about the challenges and successes of their livelihood. I am pleased to have worked on bringing new crops like hemp into Delaware, to see organizations innovating in areas like urban farming, and to celebrate our high schools and universities training future farmers on the best industry practices.

Let’s be clear: no matter what Secretary Perdue might have to say, family farms will always have a future here in Delaware. I’m looking forward to continuing to work to help them survive and thrive for years to come.

William Carson, D-Smyrna, represents the 28th District in the Delaware House and is Chair of the House Agriculture Committee.

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