Share this

Agriculture journalist, family farm advocate and IATP friend Al Krebs died last week. This is a big loss for family farmers. Several IATPers have known Al since the 1970s. I first met Al in 1990 as an awkward intern right out of college at Ralph Nader's Center for the Study of Responsive Law in Washington, D.C. Al was working hard to finish up his classic study of U.S. agribusiness companies called Corporate Reapers. Al was a deep believer in history - that to understand the present and find solutions for the future, you need to understand the past. Understanding the history is particularly important for advocates for family farmers – because much of the history has been and continues to be misrepresented and misunderstood. Al set the record straight. And in Corporate Reapers, Al went right to the heart of the struggles of family farmers - corporate agribusiness. He knew farm programs like few others. He was one of the few who understood the challenges for both family farmers and migrant farmworkers - from his extensive time in California with Cesar Chavez of the United Farm Workers. He was a devoted Baltimore Orioles fan. My last conversation with him was at Farm Aid a few years ago talking about Cal Ripken who had been selected for the Hall of Fame. And he wrote eloquently earlier this year about the standard set by Ripken in light of recent steroid scandals in baseball. We are lucky to still have his written works – they will stand. It is the deeper conversations we’ll miss. As John Hansen of the Nebraska Farmers Union wrote last week, “who among us will help pick up the slack in the reigns.”

Filed under