- The Latest
words & music by John McCutcheon
Come fill up your glasses and gather on around
And I'll tell you the truth what's a going on down
All through the country people sounding the alarm
Everyone's a-wondering what's happening on the farm
The businessman says, "Let the strongest ones survive"
But if he ain't got food how's he gonna stay alive
And the politician says, "Everything's a-getting better"
But you might as well be standing 'hind a compost spreader
Just ask any farmer in Kansas
Ask any farmer in Carolina, too
Out in Dakota, Kentucky, Minnesota
And I guarantee you'll find that what I'm telling you is true
Now, I believe it all started 'bout a dozen years ago
Everybody scratching just to make a little dough
The bankers saw the land prices go high
So they went to the farmer, said, "Buy, buy, buy
"Don't you need a little money? Don't you need a little loan?
"Don't you need some new machinery? A mortgage on your home?"
Then the land went down till everything's a debit
And the banker came back, said, "You ain't got the credit
"And I'd really like to help you, but it's out of my control"
And now the farmer's in hock, but the banker's on a roll
But all through time, I'm telling you
Trouble on the farm ain't nothing new
It's the fever or the government,
The flooding or the drought,
Hard times is something every farmer know about
How the cost goes up and the price goes down
Till you don't get nothing when you haul it into town
But nobody's worried yet, you got to understand
And now I'm gonna tell you when it really hits the fan:
When the farmer can't pay for the low, low prices
And the banker's in trouble, then we got a crisis
Uncle Sam steps in and the banker's in clover
And the newspapers tell us that the trouble's all over
And they call it a solution but the facts all mock it
'Cause the money all stays in the pin-striped pocket
Then we sat down the farmer and we told him what to do
Said, "Feed the world and keep the price cheap, too!"
So he doubled the production, and he kept the prices down
By loading up on chemicals and spreading them around
Now you got cheap food and you know there's plenty of it
Don't taste like nothing but your checkbooks love it
And the topsoil washes and the land gets dry
And the farmer gets sick and the earthworms die
You know, it's mighty hard to figure and I'll never understand
We got so much food and there's hunger in the land
You might get a little bite of that surplus cheese
But most of that food is getting shipped overseas
Where it's sold so cheap that the farmers over there
Go belly-up broke but we don't care
'Cause the plan is for the food of all them nations
Be raised over here by big corporations
They say you better get bigger or you better get out
The way to get bigger is for another to get out
They pit the farmers of the land against each other
When really we ought to be sisters and brothers
No, we're never gonna make it until we realize
That we got to get together, yes, we got to organize
Stop killing our farmers, stop killing our land
Stop handing all the profits to the middle man
It's like all this time we've been going to the till
Saying, "Charge it! And send my kids the bill!"
How they gonna make it? What they gonna do?
How they gonna pay it when the note comes due?"