Food production: a reality check

So, I “wasted” an afternoon b/c there were accusations flying around on blogs and Twitter about how the AgChat Foundation that I was involved in founding was a “pseudo non-profit organization that is driven by large bureaucratic entities and corporations”.  Well, I guess I missed that part as we worked through creating and building the Foundation, and I won’t even try to respond directly right now.  But I will say this:

I’m headed to the annual NeATA conference tomorrow, a Nebraska ag group that has always been focused on emerging ag technologies.  And I want to pause for a moment to reflect on the contribution technology has made to agriculture in the lifetime of anyone reading this.

We could talk about a lot of specific technologies, from hybrid seeds, to no-till, to pest and weed control, to planting and harvesting technology, to advances in food preservation.  But there’s one issue that stands out tonight

I was asked this winter if I could think of one country that fed it’s population using this “model” promoted by those that would “advance” our food production systems.  There’s all kinds of solutions to a problem I never can quite grasp, but there’s one that seems to be a central theme.  Destroying corporations because their too big, or too profitable.

Once you get past all the eloquent writing, all the one-lines about “big bad ag”.  I just want one country in the world that feeds it’s people with this food production nirvana, just one, surely in the 150+ countries that exist, we can find one?  Than maybe we can begin the process of evaluating food production options in the real world.

The strength of Amercia’s food production system is it’s diversity, the wide and very diverse range of produce you can find at the grocery store.  For that matter the wide and diverse range of grocery stores you find.  Or even the fact you have a huge range of food choices without ever setting food in a grocery store.  That’s the strength of our food production system, and it’s a strength I’ll continue to champion as a farmer and  as a officer in the AgChat Foundation.

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3 responses to this post.

  1. If Vermont was a country it may be close.

    Reply

  2. thanks for your comments on my “Monsanto” post. I was wondering at what the conversation might be if there was a room full of farmers. From large farms to the mom and pop farms I grew up around.
    I have to ask you. does the corn you grow taste good? According to these movies, “Monsanto” is going after these farmers for patent violations because they were saving seed or their crops were pollinated from farms that had used “Monsanto’s” genetically engineered seeds.
    As far as your post here: While we do have a wide variety of food in our market place, lets face it, a lot of it comes from Mexico, South America and Asia. You can only be assured it was grown in the US by buying from your local farmer’s market.

    Reply

    • Thanks for the comments Eddie. The reality is, often times farmers love Monsanto’s technology (roundup ready/BT corn) b/c of the benifits/ease it provides, but there’s many who dislike the company b/c of perceived too high seed prices, etc.. It’s my impression that Monsanto get’s’ unjustly blamed for a lot of the struggles affecting rural America from the consolidation that’s happened in agriculture the last 100 years.

      On the wide variety of food, if it was economical for me to grow something besides what I do, I would. While there’s a handful of people that are willing to pay the premiums of a local farmers market, in my local community that’s pretty small. Plus there’s the issue of what would happen with our large tracts of land, as most farmers market produce I see requires watering through the growing season (we don’t have enough water to irrigate large acerages here). So, I’ll let the pundits debate how we should be eating, what we should be doing. I’ll just try to grow the things that the market tells me too

      Reply

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