From: Gord Hawkes <email@example.com>
To: "'Harold Reetz'" <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
Subject: RE: sanet-mg-digest V1 #1012
Date: Thu, 13 May 1999 22:03:43 -0400
Harold. First I commend you on exercising your right to express your
opinion. I appreciate your candid views but we are of different ilks -
that which suits my perception is appropriate for me that which suits yours
is appropriate for you.
GMOs are in my rather uninformed opinion - I have no science background -
unnatural as are the use of pesticides. You make claims that we cannot
sustain the human population using traditional farming methods. Many
civilizations before us although not sustaining urban centres as large as
our contemporary cities were able to feed their masses using ingenious and
natural farming methods. The Incas and Aztecs were remarkably adept at
producing food in ways that provided for their populations. The Chinese
were equally adept at doing the same. We have become less ingenious in
developing conventional agricultural practices and focus on ways to
outsmart or outwit mother nature. Why is it that we feel that bugs and
other natural problems are in fact problems? Why is that we attempt to
grow corn where we should grow potatoes? Why is that we graze cattle where
virgin rainforest once stood? Why is that we grow a considerable amount of
food for domestic livestock possibly even more than we grow for our own
populace? If we continue to believe that we can dominate nature through
meddling with her superiority we are, in my humble opinion, fools. Why is
that we cannot focus more on the ways of nature and less on the dominance
I don't consider myself anti anything and I believe progress is good if it
balanced and fits the natural order. However, I am also a hypocrite as I
drive a car and take advantage of many of the conveniences developed in the
latter part of this century - many of which have been developed at the
expense of nature. But I am hopeful that we can bridge the gap and work
towards sustainability and working with nature in solving our problems.
This is my $0.02 worth.
Log Cabin Orchard
On Thursday, May 13, 1999 12:44 AM, Harold Reetz [SMTP:email@example.com]
> After 25+ years in Extension and Industry agronomist positions, I find it
> difficult to sit back and read the attacks on the "system" that are
> in this "list" without responding. It appears that this is really a
> for the anti-science, anti-industry people to post their ideas and their
> attacks on science and industry. Comments such as the importance of
> "values" in addition to science....implying that the progress we have
> in agriculture has been at the expense of values. There also seems to be
> general trend in this thread to looking for any negatives about GMOs and
> other technology.....implying that GMO is a BAD thing.
> I had hoped this was a forum for a more balanced discussion and
> of facts. I guess that is asking too much. But I am concerned about the
> comments that the new technologies in agriculture are creating hazards
> quality problems when there is no evidence to support such claims.
> Agriculture has changed and will never be the same as we remember in the
> "good old days", but the cause/effect relationship is not nearly so much
> result of technology as it is our nations desire to have cheap, abundant
> healthy food. We use technology to accomplish that better than any other
> nation in the world. Our success makes it possible for 98% of our
> population to NOT live on the farm and grow their own food. Were it not
> the science and technology and the large-scale intensive production
> we have implemented over the past 50+ years, more people would be forced
> into growing food and thus would have less time to attack those who do
> I am proud of the progress we have made in attacking pest and disease
> problems with reduced reliance on pesticides. Doing it with GMOs, with
> cultural practices, and overall systems management, we have a great story
> tell. There is apparently a certain population who feel obliged to
> progress. They fought pesticides and when we replaced pesticide use with
> GMOs, many of the same people jumped from the anti-pesticide bandwagon to
> the anti-GMO bandwagon.
> Another comment in this thread points out that many of the world's food
> problems are political, rather than production problems. That is true.
> the kind of discussions this thread is fostering help to support those
> political problems.
> There are also some anti-Avery comments that I am concerned about.
> has a pretty solid story that if it weren't for our use of technology,
> more of the world's natural forest ecosystems would be turned into food
> production. Our high yield management systems in the US can do much more
> help save the rain forests and deserts and to protect fragile ecosystems
> than any other option we have before us. Most of our food crops could
> survive in nature. Most of our agriculture could not survive without
> continuous infusion of technology. It is our success with technology
> gives us the abundance and efficiency that allows more people to NOT be
> involved in food production. I doubt that you will find a large
> of the 98% non-producers who would trade their life styles with going
> to producing their own food.
> Maybe instead of complaining about the direction of this list, I should
> remove my name from it. For now, thanks for letting me vent my concerns.
> Harold Reetz
> Dr. Harold F. Reetz, Jr.
> Midwest Director, Potash & Phosphate Institute
> Vice President, Foundation for Agronomic Research
> 111 East Washington Street
> Monticello, Illinois 61856-1640
> Phone: 217-762-2074
> FAX: 217-762-8655
> e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
> PPI Home Page: http://www.ppi-far.org
> InfoAg99: http://www.ppi-far.org/infoag99
> Site-Specific Project: http://www.farmresearch.com
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