> I guess I don't know what you mean by "looking at yield ... holistically" in
> the context of cash grain production. But of course you are not talking
> about cash grain production. IMO, you are changing the subject away from
> growers as part of the bourgeoisie. But most growers want to be part of the
> economic and cultural mainstream. They want a suburban-style home, two
> weeks of vacation, 401K accounts, medical insurance, college for the kids, a
> nice car, etc. Most don't want to get up at 4 am to milk the cows and chase
> hogs around the pasture. I'm not passing judgement on your values, just
> stating what I observe. Personally, I'm more of a hog-chaser myself.
> It seems like your personal values are intertwined with your economic
> analysis, and the result is a vision that most farmers don't share. The
> danger of this revolutionary vision is that sustainability becomes
> perpetually out of reach, and growers fail to grasp the small steps that
> will lead to improved environmental quality (though not necessarily
> political change). Are you willing to sacrifice these incremental steps at
> the political altar, praying for the sustainable millenium to descend?
To the foregoing, I would respond as follows:
Perhaps you will enlighten us as to where, specifically, in my
previous comments on risk reduction, you were able to deduce that:
a) I was not talking about cash grain production
b) I perceived growers as part (or not as part?) of the bourgeoisie
c) my personal values are intertwined with my economic analysis.
In reviewing my actual written comments, I believe you will find
a) I have talked *only* about grain production, and have cited no
less an authority than your very own Don Duvick in interpreting the
economic/biological/genetic bases for the well documented increase
in variability that is associated with increased grain yield.
b) I have not made any comment, judgement, or assessment on the
economic aspirations of growers -
c) and finally, that unsubstantiated, unsupported inferences drawn
from the written comments I've posted are perhaps more a reflection
of the values of the reader, than those of the poster. Nowhere have
I written, or assumed, for example, that profit will be lower with
reduced inputs - a classic Avery-esque sort of deduction -
specifically if the reduced inputs are applied strategically, in an
As for invoking the "encroachment of marginal land" argument as an
explanation, I dealt with that in the published journal article. The
same trends in increasing CV were observed in all four crop
production regions in the province, ranging from excellent to
marginal growing conditions (e.g. first occupied to last occupied).
Further, the same trends were reported across most US crops. The CRP
program would mean, I assume, that if anything, US crop production
would be less, rather than more, concentrated marginal land in
If you would like to explore and better understand what is meant by
the term "holistic" in the context of crop management, you might
wish to glance at some of my posted papers, and specifically, at the
newest one on Toward a new curriculum in sustainable agriculture.
Other, and stronger, contributions can be found from others posting
on this list, and in the published literature. Ann
Dr. E. Ann Clark
University of Guelph
Guelph, ON N1G 2W1
Phone: 519-824-4120 Ext. 2508
FAX: 519 763-8933
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