>What do think are the powerful forces trying to slam
First, like Michel, I want to thank you, Dale, for having thick skin and
hanging in. You are a very valuable part of this discussion. Please keep
As far as forces go, I have a hard time naming names. I don't believe that
we are where we are because of some Tri-Lateral Commission conspiracy, nor
do I blame any individual, organization, corporation, politician or policy.
You can't. It's a lot more complicated than that.
But make no mistake. There are forces slamming sustainable ag:
The forces that make farmers choose short-term economics over long-term
stewardship. It shouldn't be either/or. The market should reward farmers
handsomely for thinking a lot farther ahead than the rest of us.
The forces that make it next to impossible for a new generation of farmers
to work the land.
The forces that tend to "homogenize" production practices over larger and
larger areas, instead of relying on the ingenuity of people to craft farming
systems that are truly site-specific. (Please don't tell me that precision
ag is already doing this. All it's doing is helping big farms "tighten up
the nozzles" a little on their corn and bean rotations, if you can call that
The forces that have made hogs back-breakers instead of mortgage-lifters,
and keep cows standing around on concrete eating hot rations.
The forces that brought us the "Freedom to Fail" act of 1996. It was
designed to get government out of farming, but it's doing a better job of
getting farmers out of farming -- especially those who lack the deep pockets
to weather poor markets.
The forces that continue to reduce the number of farmers even though overall
production tends to increase with the "eyes-to-acres" ratio, a fact that
many who profess that they want to feed the world tend to ignore.
The forces that keep consumers ignorant (or at least uncaring) about how
their food choices affect their own health and the health of their planet.
The forces that keep poor farmers in developing countries poor, or at least
tie their fate to the vagaries of world markets.
I'm sure you can think of more.
There are forces doing all that. But they are too complex to attribute to
any one thing. Complex answers defy simple solutions, or rather they defy
ONE simple solution.
But many simple solutions can change things. I've seen some that address
each of those forces offered here on sanet. That's why I keep dropping in.
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