yep let's talks about profitability and sustainability from both an
economic and an environmental perspective.
First, it is interesting to note that knowledge management theory from
the business world is alive and well in sustainable agriculture. The
farmer who can spend more time in a seat in front of a coputer schreen
and on the phone stands a much better chance to being profitable or more
profitable than the farmer out in the field. Market reports, stocks and
bonds and futures, alternative financing and the rest of the economics
can bring significant differences to the bottom line over just planting,
harvesting and selling. Either you are the brains and hire the labor or
you are the labor and pay for the brains- either way both are needed.
Secondly, smart faarmers and farm managers have been watching the
sustainable movement with a careful eye to adoption. Not having to use
inputs such as pesticides and land management which conswerves water and
soil are money in the bank whther you are small or big. The eyes to
acres ratio is a nice Myth or poetic metaphor. What a small farmer can
do in a small field, the larger operator can leverage with the 4WD and
reduced tillage equipment in larger fields, particularly in the plains
where they can fly between fence lines. So the ability to increase
profitability is two fold- the practices and the spread of the labor and
equipment across larger acreage to reduce costs.
Third, a field can only produce so much revenue. The lifestyle of the
farmer determines the needed income. If you want high priced meidcal
insurance and microwaves and new pickups and the ability to go to Miami
in the winter then you have certain financial needs. Add them up, divide
by the income/unit (animals and acres) and you now have the size of the
operation that you need. Greater "need" demands greater acreasge.
greater acerage means fewer people per acres. Since we live longer the
family farm may have to support several generations, each with larger
demands than the previous generation (grandma and pa want to retire and
have money, the kids want to go to college etc) and thus the farm has to
support a greater income. The economic demands of the farmers and the
farming community set the level which can be supported on local acres.
Now one may say- let's get farm prices up- but farm prices, by the time
they reach the consumer are leveraged many times over and come right
back to the farmer in higher cost of doing business. The fiscal carrying
capacity of the land and the needs are the driving parameters
It seems prety simple to me. Longer and haelthier lives with increased
demands up the ante and drive the size of farm operations upwards
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