Just how might we make some of the alternatives both plausible and
palatable, especially in the context of some of the more legitimate
points put forward by Avery et al?
Take, as an example, the feedlot dilemma. We take ruminants that
are designed to eat that great soil-healer, grass, and feed them
like pigs with a corn/bean-based diet utilising two crops with
considerable potential for soil degradation and/or loss. The manure
is not returned to the land which grew their feed, creating a pollution
problem, and resulting in a substantial leak for the 70-80% of consumed
nutrients that leave the back end of a bovine.
Meantime (according to Beef magazine, Nov '94??) the producer is
spending something like $260 per head putting on fat that the consumer
usually does not want -- in order to meet USDA grade requirements.
Meantime the Canada-US border in Montana and Dakota is visible from
385 miles up because on the US side program farmers have planted
immense areas of wheat on land the Canadians (no slouches in the wheat
department) feel is better suited to grazing.
So Mr. Benbrooke and others, play out some scenarios offering a
number of ways such a problem might be approached -- presumably it
is possible to have better quality food (both animal and vegetable) for
Americans, plenty of food to 'feed the world' according to the Avery
model, *and* improving soil health and biodiversity across the American
I'd love to see practical ideas, addressing simultaneously agronomic,
market, policy, hunger, and environmental issues....
What can we deliver by way of a range of plausible alternatives..??