> 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 previous posts you kept saying things like:
> It means a whole different way of growing crops and
> livestock, with lesser reliance on exogenous energy
> sources and much greater reliance on holistic farm
> management to capture synergies among enterprises
> ...whole different way of looking at yield and N - e.g.
> holistically - my point. I would suggest that risk
> management is an entirely different phenomenon in the
> two "systems".
I thought you meant a very different, more diversified and labor-intensive
farming system. Obviously, risk reduction is a lot different for
diversified enterprises. Since you do mean cash-grain production in the
standard economic context, on, I presume, similar acreages, I'm still not
sure what you mean by holistic management of cash-grain production.
> 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.
I like your website, and I read the paper on curriculum. It was surprising
how much I agree with almost everything in it. I especially like your
example of "working backwards" on problems (although in reality, it is the
typical academic approach that has things backwards). It seems like by
"holism" you mean careful management with an understanding of system
biology. If that is what you mean, I agree completely that that is what we
need to do. And this is what I see being taught in "conventional" ag
science. I feel I got, at least a start, in that kind of education from a
BS in Agronomy in 1978 at UW-Madison. Now *values* conveyed (perhaps not
overtly taught) may be another issue!
What bothered me about your paper, and bothers me routinely on Sanet, is the
tendency to draw black and white lines between groups of growers (and
scientists) when there is really a multidimensional gradation in behavior.
I think this is a political strategy that plays upon peoples tribal
instincts and fears. For example, you state in the curriculum paper:
> The agricultural landscape of the future will be bimodal in
> shape and texture, accomodating at least two divergent extremes
> or "types" (sustainable vs. conventional) together with the
> intervening continuum. Focusing on the polar extremes may help
> to reveal and clarify the quite different educational experiences
> and curriculum that would be needed to service each type."
I interpret this to mean that you intentionally over-emphasize the
differences between "sustainable" and "conventional" growers to justify
entirely different curricula for "sustainable" ag students versus
"conventional" ag students.
I think intentional polarization is counterproductive and wrong. I would
like to see integration of traditional and "agroecological" curricula, and
an integrated approach to research and extension that doesn't seek to
exclude one group or another.
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