Here's the post from another list that I mentioned yesterday. The author,
Lynn Wigglesworth, gave me permission to repost it here. The thread was
about government/corporate partnerships and their effect on food production.
The first bit, enclosed in brackets, was posted by another list member.
I expect the reflex reaction from some Extropians will be to accuse me of
being a Luddite when I say I'm in favor of low-input farming. Please
understand I'm not advocating going backwards to the way things were done
150 years ago. I'm saying that, based on what I've learned so far from 51
years of being curious and poking around to see how things work, it makes
far more sense to UNDERSTAND natural processes and work with them to the
extent possible rather than to use brute force without understanding what
one is doing. In terms of dollars, why spend $2000 for something when you
could get the same, or better, for 50 cents?
[>It is not difficult to foresee full taxpayer subsidization of
>farms owned by ADM, Cargill, Monsanto, ad nauseum, perhaps set up as
>utilities have been, monopolies to ensure profit, eminent domain used to
I do see change happening in agriculture. Small farms are making a
comeback. They aren't pretty, don't have hired hands, and don't have a lot
of fancy machinery. But they are successful. You don't hear a lot about
these people because they are tucked away on backroads. They are too busy
making a living and optimistic to be out complaining about how bad farming
is. There are a lot of Joel Salatin types that aren't as vocal. I know a
good number of people like this...our spring grazing conference is
expecting 200 (mostly dairy) farmers with this mindset (even if they aren't
doing it yet) from a 2-county area. That's almost enough to start a
movement, except these types aren't 'joiners' (a friend says that
coordinating farmers is like trying to move frogs in a wheelbarrow).
Even we, with our 10 scruffy milk cows, are probably making more money
(ACTUAL $ PROFIT) than the 1000 cow dairies in Ca. Not much in the winter
with all purchased feed (but at least we don't lose money), but during
grazing season, it's almost no cost and all profit (obviously our next goal
is to extend the grazing season as much as possible). The big dairies
publish their numbers in places like Hoards...many of them LOSE money month
after month. They have loans on top of loans. We can wait them out. The
future is about low input farming, not more chemicals and bigger tractors.
Low-input farming is sustainable and profitable. I see it happening in
Pennsylvania and New York. I am encouraged.
Tioga County, PA
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Mon May 28 2001 - 09:56:48 MDT