> I don't know about BP Amoco, but I know why Monsanto is investing in
> studying carbon sequestration in soil. Monsanto is very pro-no-till
> because no-till farming requires, especially in the first 5-10 years,
> significantly more herbicides (say "Roundup") than farming systems
> that include tillage.
> No-till is a wonderful thing, and even with the increased herbicide
> input it is a much more productive and environment-friendly system
> than currently practiced in many places. BUT be assured that Monsanto
> does nothing purely for the public good. If it makes them money, they
> support it. Very simple.
> Maybe this seemingly sad fact of life should be taken advantage of
> more often. The more successful environmental groups and campaigns do
> not appeal to industries purely from an ethical viewpoint. Doing
> things the right way can often mean doing things a more profitable
> way. Don't expect an entity that survives on profit to give money
> away for no reason, but GIVE them a reason and watch the corporate
> machine go to work for your goal.
That's all well and good, especially for Monsanto, but there are
other ways to achieve environmental goals and increase production;
think what farmers could do with the following.
1) Local production for as much local and/or regional sales as possible -
forget the contract grow-out programs pushed by vertically integrated
agribiz; and I hear they're now looking into buying farms and farmland and
growing it themselves! Forget the American farmer, they'll be replaced by
unionized tractor drivers working for XXXXX Vegetable Co. Farmers don't
want to use RR seeds, more Roundup, turnkey system, contract growout plan?
they can hang it up and sell out as they'll be undercut and run out of the
marketplace by the VI corporations getting larger and doing the growing
themselves. Has it not already happened to poultry and hogs?
2) Put (government mandate here) all livestock manure back on farmland,
using the proper techniques, for recycling as fertilizer - even if it
means tanker-trucking it where it needs to go or drying/composting it
3) All phosphate mines will be limited to production of superphosphate
or ground rock phosphate for agricultural uses, medicinal or other
uses vital to our national securuty - no more wasting this non-renewable
resource in soft drinks or soaps.
This no-till/roundup thing is just too limited and is short-sighted.
Think of the ground farmers can gain (npi) by researching, developing and
using natural farming methods. The no-till w/o roundup can be improved
upon. Mechanical weed removal, cover cropping and intercropping can
eventually reduce and eliminate the need for roundup. Hilling and bedding
techniques could follow no-till (read: use the Soil Saver and the Yeomans
plows [Keyline system]).
If I were a farmer with 1000 acres I would give my land to the Nature
Conservancy before I'd put a drop of roundup on it or use RR or GM seeds.
I would farm for local or regional sales (involves restructuring local
economies; not impossible) and do this in concert with other farmers in my
area. It involves solidarity and stick-to-it-iveness. The vertically
integrated agribusiness/supermarket chain monopoly does not mean the end
of small, family and independent farming in the US.
Lawrence F. London, Jr. -+|+- Venaura Farm
http://metalab.unc.edu/london, /permaculture, /ecolandtech
InterGarden -+|+- Permaculture -+|+- EcoLandTech
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