>But what difference does it make that fact sheets and articles
>on sustainable agriculture practices exist?†† Is it a simple lack of
>information that prevents more cover crops from becoming
>the norm across the cropland farming belts? .............
>Maybe the thread ought to go towards what kinds of learning tools
>and techniques are available to use with farm groups and extension
>specialists.... so that sustainable ag practices become more widely
>What are the reasons that farmers like Steve Groff and Greg Gunthorp
>made a decision to do something so odd as to plant a cover crop, or
>to graze hogs on pasture instead of confine them to pens and feed
>them grain-based rations.
>More importantly, what did they say at a local farmers meeting,
>or what slides did they use to illustrate a point, that convinced a
>neighboring farmer to go ahead and "adopt" this new practice?
I say this:
You may have gone so far into the sociology of this matter that the simplest,
most powerful motivator -- economics -- has been completely obscured. It seems
to me a simple matter of risk. There can be a market for that. It will let
people "vote" their consciences with their pocketbooks. What could be more
I realize you are consumed with the "sustainable" slant, but the
slant may be a useful demonstration forum for the insurance principle I see in
and around this discussion of sustainable agriculture issues. The practical or
pragmatic yearning shouldn't be scoffed at. It's probably made more difference
in the survival of the species of mankind than we give it credit for in our
most heated debates about scruples and moral obligations.
This is a new approach for conservation resistance. I think it's going to work
fairly well. We'll know in a few months if that is right or wrong...
Agricultural Conservation Innovation Center
Conservation Has Moved Too Slowly
Changing a farming practice increases risks, at least in the minds of farmers.
Adopting a conservation practice, because it is a change in farming
a risky step even if it reduces production costs. Many proven, cost-efficient
conservation practices have been developed by University experts and promoted
by the Cooperative Extension Service, but not adopted quickly or completely by
the farming community for fear that the new practices might fail.
A Specialized Insurance Policy Can Resolve This Dilemma
To counter farmersí fears of increased production risks associated with
unfamiliar farming practices, we are insuring innovative conservation
If this reluctance can be overcome, conservation practices ought to
around the nation for all sorts of crops in all sorts of farming systems.
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