Democrats & Liberals Archives

Organic Farming: Remedy to Global Warming

For the last few years we have been searching for a way to fight global warming by reducing CO2 in the air. We have come up with many ideas: making our homes, cars and activities more fuel efficient; and using nuclear energy, solar energy, wind power, hydro-power, geothermal energy, batteries, hydrogen, etc. But we have paid no attention to what may be the best approach of all: organic farming.

Organic farming has many virtues. One of these is preventing large-scale crop epidemics. Instead of planting long rows of the same crop, organic farmers mix crops together. So if a crop is diseased it may not affect the others. Another virtue is the stemming of erosion. Natural fertilizers build the soil in a way that absorbs the rain whereas chemical fertilizers increases runoff that leads to erosion. And of course, chemical fertilizers pollute streams and rivers and are responsible for such things as the so-called "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico.

We hear about these positive factors. But we hear almost nothing about what arguably is the most important advantage of organic farming: preventing global warming by reducing CO2 in the air. Here's an eye-popping paragraph about organic farming:

When the soil is nurtured through organic methods, it allows plants to naturally pull so much carbon dioxide from the air and store it in the soil that global warming can actually be reversed. Farms using conventional, chemical fertilizer release soil carbon into the atmosphere. Switching to organic methods turns a major global-warming contributor into the single largest remedy of the climate crisis, while eliminating toxic farm chemical drainage into our streams, rivers and aquifers.

The effect is huge: "global warming can actually be reversed"!

Of course, we're not sure of this. But organic farming must definitely be added to our available tools for fighting global warming. Not just available, but one of the best tools.

By the way, organic farming requires more labor than conventional farming. This means more jobs - something we need today more than ever.

So why don't we hear about this wonderful way to fight global warming? How come there is nothing about this in newspapers, magazines and TV? Why is it being suppressed and by whom?

Obviously by the oil companies that sell the oil used for developing fertilizers, and the chemical companies that produce the fertilizers. They naturally are interested in making sales and they spread ads - propaganda - accordingly. They make money and all the rest of us suffer.

Discouraging the use of oil and chemical fertilizers, and encouraging renewable-fuel development, conservation and organic farming may be enough to stem the global-warming tide and save us from catastrophe. I hope that Obama's green team will add the advance of organic farming to its to-do list. More, the team should place it on top of the list.

Posted by Paul Siegel at December 16, 2008 7:22 PM
Comments
Comment #272173


It would be doubly great if the government made it possible to have more small organic family farmers who grow organic food for the local market rather than more farm hands.

Posted by: jlw at December 16, 2008 11:11 PM
Comment #272178

Now that the term “organic” has been taken over by the corporations just about anything can pass as organic, it just costs a little more.

Posted by: j2t2 at December 17, 2008 5:15 AM
Comment #272186

The only problem I see with Organic Farming is that we would have to choose which half of the world is going to starve. Their is not enough crop land in the world to feed the world’s population by “Organic” methods. Some of the methods that “Organic” farming uses could be applied for the benifit of all. Such as using more neutral soil process, however unless we use GM Foods we will still need to use some amount of pestacides.

Posted by: timesend at December 17, 2008 8:57 AM
Comment #272197

>Of course, we’re not sure of this. But organic farming must definitely be added to our available tools for fighting global warming. Not just available, but one of the best tools.

“not sure of this”, but it is “one of the best tools.”
How can it be the one of the best if you are not sure of it?

Agree with timesend that organic cannot supply the world’s food needs. And organic proponents have been the staunchest opponents of GM, which DOES have the potential to help feed the world, and is very green in the long run. I guess they want to protect THEIR pocketbooks, much like the multinationals they condemn. Organic food would not be affordable by most of the world, especially if conventional agriculture is regulated out of existence. Interesting that as food prices go up, people turn away from organic produce. This indicates that for many it is primarily a status symbol.

Posted by: hotshot at December 17, 2008 12:03 PM
Comment #272208

hostshot, Organic CAN supply the world’s food needs. But, at a significantly higher cost. But, then life on this earth has never been free, there is no garden of eden.

The way to supply the world’s food needs through responsible economic activity is to FIRST achieve the goal of population stabilization, and if possible, human population reduction.

The heart of this issue is that this planet has become overrun by a population explosion of human species passed the natural and responsible carrying capacity of the planet and human species self-management governance mechanisms.

The trick to solve any set of problems is prioritizing the causes and then the solutions. Human food production in a responsible earth friendly fashion is a simple matter of supply of demand. Demand has outpaced the responsible capacity to produce food. Ergo, the first step to solving the problem is redefining our social systems so that population stabilization or zero growth becomes a very high social system agenda priority.

Inject religious issues, and this simple straight forward solution becomes enormously contentious and complex to achieve. Failure however to achieve carries its own costs in famine, human suffering, and decimation of ever greater natural habitats for other living systems on our planet.

Those living American coasts are already facing a combination Water World and Mad Max scenarios due to overpopulation and mismanagement of human economic systems, which will cause the oceans to shrink continental land mass forcing the huddling of ever greater human masses into ever more congested communities, with few or no resources to bring with them.

These scenarios can be avoided, just as the current economic crisis could have been avoided. But, the management systems for socieites are flawed and populated with people of enormous deficiencies in understanding the concept of responsibility, or, the ability to respond appropriately, in their lives and careers. What our founding fathers and Adam Smith referred to as enlightened self interest that takes into account with every decision the short and long term consequences of such decision options and electing the option with the greatest benefits and least negative consequences in BOTH the short and long term sequence of cause and effect.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 17, 2008 1:04 PM
Comment #272214

DRR,

You forget that the male of the human species has evolved to death. Half the world population is not necessary to carry on the human genome. Nature will out, so to speak, as more and more realize the futility of the ‘man’ part of mankind being carried into the future, food supplies will balance on their own.

I am serious when I say, “the male of the species has outlived its usefulness”.

Posted by: Marysdude at December 17, 2008 1:53 PM
Comment #272234

Read “Organic Futures The Case for Organic Farming” by Adrian Meyers to learn and understand that there have been nothing but Organic farming for the Chinese until recently, and how with staggering population densities, the Chinese were able to produce enough food from their own land to sustain a nation for thousands of years.

Just because you can’t see how it’s possible doesn’t mean it’s not. Current farming practices are unsustainable—you can’t keep sucking the life out of soil, fertilizing, and so on even with crop rotations and have good soil in perpetuity. If you don’t learn how to build the soil as you are using it, it won’t last. And you cannot build it unless you farm it organically, so Meyers argues, and goes on to assert that it’s not a matter of if but more a matter of when there will be no other choice.

Besides, there are many indications that organic foods are better for you and the environment. Vote with your dollar at the grocery store—I do.

Posted by: Scott Etienne at December 17, 2008 5:13 PM
Comment #272240

David,

Depopulation is not necessary. Much of the food we produce now goes to waste. Better planing and regulation can reduce this problem. In the coming years, vertical farming will result in a major increase in food production around the world. What we really need is an investment in clean water production.

j2t2,

I agree with you. These days, “organic” is just another term for “expensive.”

Marysdude

I’ve never seen a post contradict a screen name the way your’s does.
Men are useful to to me, I assure you!

Posted by: Linda at December 17, 2008 5:54 PM
Comment #272248

Scott Etienne, I am curious as to how the change to organic farming on a global basis would take place. Are we talking decades or centuries? How exactly would you go about reducing the world’s future population. China has had success by legally limiting births with severe penalties for those who don’t obey.

Some countries are facing a population shortage in the next decades. What about their needs.

Finally, who would be in charge of these programs…I certainly wouldn’t trust the UN or any political entity that exists in the world today. I don’t trust the scientific community as a whole after witnessing the debacle with falsified and pandered results on MMGW.

If I sound cynical it’s because I am. Being cynical however doesn’t mean that I am not optimistic. I recall reading “The Population Bomb” and “Silent Spring” as well as “The Coming Ice Age”.

I also read of folks who flee to the mountains every few years in anticipation of Armageddon. I continue to read and hear investment counselors telling folks to hang in there with their equities and bonds. Their advise, six months ago, and today, was and is to buy more. My advise six months ago to myself and anyone else who would listen was to sell, sell, sell. I am glad I sold all my equity and bond investments when I did and now am only in cash and annuities.

Perhaps you can understand why I am cynical. I will address my optimism some other day, I need to lock up the office and go home.

Posted by: Jim M at December 17, 2008 7:26 PM
Comment #272258

CHINA: ‘Food Scarcity Creating New World Order’
By Antoaneta Bezlova
http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=42646

Posted by: Rodney Brown at December 17, 2008 9:37 PM
Comment #272263


Someone died of starvation today, but it wasn’t anyone I know.

The year I was born, 1950, the population of the U.S. was approx. 150 million. The population of the U.S. was approx. 300 million in 2000. Anyone care to guess what it will be in 2010? How about 2020?

How much does a square foot of land cost in Tokyo?
Imagine 20 billion people, all wanting a huge house with a four car garage and a swimming pool to. And they all want to eat steak.

“Some countries are facing a population shortage. what about their needs.” The Islamic countries are experiencing a huge population explosion. Perhaps the countries facing population shortages can import a few million of them and their religion.

30 million immigrants x 1.5 children = 52.5 million in two years.

I agree with much of what David Remer said but, the first step to problem solving is admiting there is a problem. The second step is a determination to do something about the problem.

Some people refuse to admit we have problems or that any problem can be solved by getting rid of government.

I will admit that having a government filled with lawyers is not conducive to solving problems unless by solving problems, you create other problems, that’s often called job security. Faster than a speeding snail seems to be par for government problem solving.

I remember when people said computers would solve the paper problem and save the trees.

As to enlightened self interest, like I said, someone died of starvation today, but it wasn’t anyone I know.

It seems to me that for Americans, self interest means consuming 1/2 to 3/5 of the worlds resources. Should that be called non-enlightened self interest.

Posted by: jlw at December 17, 2008 9:56 PM
Comment #272265

Linda,

Mary feels the same way you do…that doesn’t change anything.

Draw up a pro-con list, then think it through, tear that one up and start again. You can come to no other conclusion. Evolution has caught up with the male of our species. We are no longer needed in the ‘hunter/gatherer’ equasion. With machinery at our disposal, we are no longer needed for heavy lifting or manual plowing. There is no longer a need to clear the land for crops or for building living quarters. With all the new genetics and the numbers of frozen sperm on hand, we are no longer necessary for propigation. We might make handy boy-toys, if you can get us to behave, but…

Answer these questions:

1. If every woman were to die tomorrow, how long would mankind survive?

2. If every man were to die tomorrow, how long would womankind survive?

Hey, I don’t have anything against men…I are one…but, realistically, it’s a done deal. All that is left is for humanity to recognize it.


Posted by: Marysdude at December 17, 2008 10:03 PM
Comment #272266

Now…if there were only three billion people on the planet, would we have a food shortage? Not likely…

Posted by: Marysdude at December 17, 2008 10:06 PM
Comment #272267

MD who will take the trash out? and do you have dogs. :)

Posted by: Rodney Brown at December 17, 2008 10:07 PM
Comment #272268

Speaking of genacide…when the women who have starving, deseased children figure out that men are hogging half the food and medicine…???…

Posted by: Marysdude at December 17, 2008 10:09 PM
Comment #272269

Rodney, I failed to figure that into my thesis…it may be what saves us…:)

Posted by: Marysdude at December 17, 2008 10:10 PM
Comment #272270


The handy dandy fully functional robot can take the trash out and do a lot of other things. They will be comming soon and they can be programed not to watch football.

Rodney, thanks for the link.

Posted by: jlw at December 17, 2008 10:21 PM
Comment #272271

One of the best functioning robots in this year’s college robot fair was by a female team…getting ready???

Posted by: Marysdude at December 17, 2008 10:31 PM
Comment #272275

Marysdude,

I know modern liberals have a weird tendency to suffer from Self Hatred, but that doesn’t necessitate the death of half the species.

I, for one, think ALL people have something to contribute to society. If pleasuring Mary is all you have to offer, I think that is a positive contribution. You claim to be superfluous, and yet you go online to make political arguments. Obviously, you have some ambivalence as to your roll in World of Reality. You don’t know whether or not you’re more than just a male whore. I think you’re more than that, but if not, who cares? You have a purpose in life… for Mary.

As for food, we have plenty (as I said earlier). it’s just mismanaged. Food production will increase as vertical farming catches on. In order to facilitate that, we need more clean water.
We have more water than we can ever use (this is Earth, remember), but we have to invest in purification in order to use it.

I liked the classic liberals. Instead of the Modern Liberal idea of depopulation of life itself, they wanted to advance science to grant us immortality and to depopulate the earth through space travel and planetary colonization. Does anyone remember JFK these days? If you don’t think he stood for this stuff, go back and read through some of his speeches.

Posted by: Linda at December 18, 2008 12:41 AM
Comment #272276

Marysdude,

1. If every woman were to die tomorrow, how long would mankind survive?
2. If every man were to die tomorrow, how long would womankind survive?
Hey, I don’t have anything against men…I are one…but, realistically, it’s a done deal. All that is left is for humanity to recognize it.

See my last post. I don’t accept your premise. It is indicative of Modern Liberal Self Hatred Syndrome (MLSHS).
Modern liberals such as yourself have acquired the tendency for Dumbing Down Reality for Political Gain(DDRPG). In other words, you have become conservatives. You have forgotten (or ignored) the fact that an infinite universe has infinite resources. Want an example? The “environmentalist” Modern Liberal stance against investment in solar power. If ML’s hadn’t demonized the solution as useless in order to perpetuate the issue, the environmental problem would have been solved long ago.

Posted by: Linda at December 18, 2008 1:13 AM
Comment #272278
Speaking of genacide…when the women who have starving, deseased children figure out that men are hogging half the food and medicine…???…

Spoken by somebody who has very little experience or knowledge about modern medicine or the hard sciences in general.

Women are great—don’t get me wrong. But with just a few notable exceptions, their important contributions to science are roughly equal to their important contributions to the NFL. There are things women do better than men, but if they care about medicine at all, or any modern conveniences, they’re gonna need men all the more.

The feminist Camille Paglia has it right. If the world had been run by women throughout history, we’d all live in grass huts and spend our days foraging for food. Perhaps this would be a good thing. I don’t know. But there it sits.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at December 18, 2008 1:49 AM
Comment #272280

Well maybe you would, LO, but the rest of us would be in the big house on the hill…..throwing your food down to you.
The one correct thing you said was your second to the last comment…… “I don’t know.”

Posted by: janedoe at December 18, 2008 1:59 AM
Comment #272282

Paul
I now live in the highlands of the Philippines. The region is known for the production of temperate produce like brocoli and strawberries. These do not like to grow in the rest of the PI. Too damned hot. Most of the farms are small family plots. Insecticide poisoning is reported in the newspapers not as incidents but as trends,for example:poisoning were down this season. THe victums are always women hand mixing (literally)insecticides. THe American companies that supply these chemicals do little to warn of their dangers but even if they did these are poor farmers. The cost of the proper rubber gloves and respirators is beyond their reach. So is the luxury of organic farming. If their crops are attacked by insects they have to conter it or starve. In the long run you are right and they would be better off not having to pay for chemicals etc. but it is the short run they have to deal with and were they to charge a little more for organic produce the produce would rot on the shelf.This is a poor country. There is some movement toward a more sustainable,more organic method partly because of soil depletion. A more labor intensive approach is not a benefit for these folks at all. They simply cannot afford paid help. Plots are cared for by large families. 10-12 children is not uncommon.If it took more labor they would simply grow less. I wanted to tell you this stuff that you might realize that it is a big world out there solutions to big problems are never simple.
A bit on the supposed benefits of a more labor intensive agriculture. Ever done any farm labor? Getting out of farm labor is arguably the real basis of civilization. From the oldest profession,the priesthood(second oldest),warriors,bus drivers,even investment bankers a fundemental human drive is to avoid having to go out in that damned field one more day.I am not talking about puttering around in the garden but real,hot,dirty,risky,backbreaking farming. Farmers are heros or we we would all be starving.

Posted by: bills at December 18, 2008 3:14 AM
Comment #272286

Linda,

You are acting like a knee-jerk liberal about this. This particular post is a politic-free zone, it is neither liberal nor conservative. It is a philosophy based on evolutionary science.

Please do as I ask…make a pro-con list…then tear that one up and make another. There is actually, and scientifically only one conclusion.

You are not alone…my wife, Carolina, janedoe, Adrienne, you, are all sceptical, but not one has given me a scientific argument.

Posted by: Marysdude at December 18, 2008 8:17 AM
Comment #272287

Linda, getting control of population WOULD mean killing people to folks such as yourself, I guess.

The rest of us however, view the solution as education and investment in our children’s futures, and thus exercising conception control. With education of where current trends lead, most folks would voluntarily exercise conception control, as a generous benefit to the children they do have.

But, if you insist on killing people as the method of choice, I suggest you get behind the 19% of Bush Supporters who believe Iraq was a great down payment on rightly targeted control of certain population’s growth, and non-involvement in Rwanda was another. In this day and age, killing is as easy as turning a blind eye, something America has been very adept at these last few years, when it wishes to. But, that is obviously not the course I was suggesting.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 18, 2008 8:21 AM
Comment #272289

Marysdude, your proposition is entirely devoid of any understanding of sociology, biology, or psychology. Women need men, just as men need women, though the ways may differ, for a host of little understood reasons by the lay public.

And what of the future, when the need arises to populate space vehicles for generations to relocate the species on another viable planet due to the imminent destruction of this one by any of several causes? One short circuit to the sperm bank on space habitat, and the human race ceases to exist in the absence of men.

Your proposition would make a fun sci fi, but, in realistic terms, is ludicrous. Diversity is at the core of human species emergence and survival, including sexual diversity. There are many psychological and sociological realities that are dependent upon the differing chemistry with the bodys of the males and females, and are part and parcel of the diversity that helps to ensure adaptability and survivability of the species.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 18, 2008 8:31 AM
Comment #272295

Nice try Paul. What we are seeing today, though, is the radical environmentalist’s preferred choice. Global economic depression is a great way to reduce emissions of all sorts.

The next step is global population reduction. We can look to Stalin and Mao Zedong for clues to how that is done. That will cause much of the world’s farmland to revert to natural vegetation, which will have the same effect.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at December 18, 2008 9:44 AM
Comment #272310

>Your proposition would make a fun sci fi, but, in realistic terms, is ludicrous.

DRR,

Thanks for the complement, I’ve always wanted to be known as ludicrous…:)

David, I’ll challenge you to the same two questions as noted above…and mention, just to answer about your space travel thing…even if all stored sperm (enough to overpopulate the earth again, and not all stored at the same place), were to be destroyed, there is super genetics and cloning…actually there are infinite ways to continue the human species without male help. Evolution indicates that half the females would become ‘butch’, and replace men for any of those “sociology, biology, or psychology”, items you mentioned.

You really don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure this out…just sit down with a paper and pencil, make a pro-con list…tear that list up and make another. You also have to THINK dispassionately.

Posted by: Marysdude at December 18, 2008 12:49 PM
Comment #272311

>You are not alone…my wife, Carolina, janedoe, Adrienne, you, are all sceptical, but not one has given me a scientific argument.
Posted by: Marysdude at December 18, 2008 08:17 AM

Linda,

David R Remer has now joined your ranks, so you now have male company who doubts, but argues no science.

Posted by: Marysdude at December 18, 2008 12:53 PM
Comment #272314

Perhaps the reason you are foresaking my pro-con list is that I did not lay down any rules for the list…before you begin the list:

1. Name one job, still being done, on the face of the planet that cannot be accomplished, with modification, by the female of our species.

When that one is answered, propigation, becomes the primary purpose of the male of our species.

2. Is there a scientific reason why females cannot arrange for male-less population continuation?

Now, start your pro-con lists…

Posted by: Marysdude at December 18, 2008 1:03 PM
Comment #272315

>There are many psychological and sociological realities that are dependent upon the differing chemistry with the bodys of the males and females, and are part and parcel of the diversity that helps to ensure adaptability and survivability of the species.
Posted by: David R. Remer at December 18, 2008 08:31 AM>There are many psychological and sociological realities that are dependent upon the differing chemistry with the bodys of the males and females, and are part and parcel of the diversity that helps to ensure adaptability and survivability of the species.
Posted by: David R. Remer at December 18, 2008 08:31 AM

DRR,

The male has done its job for survival, i.e., hunted, lifted, plowed, built, and most important innovated newer and better ways to do all of that, and he has devised methods of population continuation without his own help…thus, the male of our species has, indeed, and in fact, evolved out of requirement to exist. We did our job well, but reality speaks…tain’t no sci-fi movie we’ve written, it’s the real thing.

Posted by: Marysdude at December 18, 2008 1:11 PM
Comment #272329

Funny, dude, but I had responded at length, to your comment and Linda’s response, but it did not make it on here. One of those little bleeps that told me it would have to be determined since I was a new poster…… ;( ..??)
Anyway, I had said that even now we have the abilities with genetics studies and the “success” of cloning, to do away with both sexes, actually. That and the fact that we are becoming a cold, callous, unloving, un-nurturing society more and more as time goes on. We don’t seem to be trying to slow down the progress much, either. The concept of family has all but disappeared, conversation, “what’s that”??, and the idea of love….is nearly archaic. So while we have leaped through the scientific hoops and marvels, we’ve left the human part of us struggling to stay connected.
How far away are we from the androids of old sci-fi thrillers??
I guess what is weird is that at my age, I have memories from either living through, or hearing it told, about life before sonic speed science. The generation developing now is all about super high technology, and I will argue until my last breath, that if you take a computer away from a kid today, we have literally an idiot. I see it all around me with my kids and grankids…some of which are, sadly, illiterate. But….give them a gadget that doesn’t feel, hug, or talk and they are incredible. They don’t read directions, they just start pushing buttons until something happens, and ta daaaa ! No questions, no interaction with other human factors….no attaboys for working toward the answer.
Well, I could bore you all to tears with my experiences and beliefs, but to what avail?

Posted by: janedoe at December 18, 2008 2:12 PM
Comment #272335

Marysdude said: “Thanks for the complement, I’ve always wanted to be known as ludicrous…:)”

If your proposition and you are one and the same, then you are ludicrous by that definition. I however, did not call you ludicrous, only your ‘proposition’. Perhaps a reading refresher is in order?

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 18, 2008 3:04 PM
Comment #272340

Jim M,

The change to organic farming is already happening, because of market forces. People are voting with dollars. At the stores where I shop, depending on what you buy, most organic foods don’t cost all that much more.

Many of the arguments I have read here seem to be knee-jerk reactions from those who don’t understand how cultural changes come about, and even that they are possible. For changes to take place, you do not need the UN or any government agency to step in, other than to properly regulate what is the definition of “Organic” and to police production. Changes are already happening, and organic food continues to be available because it is profitable—even in comparison to conventional farming. When compared to conventional farming, the small conventional farms cannot even compete any more. The family farm is all but dead. Where, the average organic farm is much smaller in size, it manages to compete quite well with the cost differential you see at the store. The only place where I have seen that Organic is really expensive is in meats, so I tend to lean more towards minimally processed meats that advertise hormone and antibiotic free, all vegetarian feed and free range, and so on.

As far as population control goes, I don’t pretend to know much about how to deal with it. Population control is the single, biggest problem we have as a species, and we are our own, single biggest threat to our existence. There will be a point where the earth cannot sustain our population growth, and depending on how that happens will determine our fate.

Going back to my original argument, eventually, we are going to reach a point with soil where it will no longer be able to support the levels of production we have now. And, that there’s only one way to create real soil and that is organically. So, it doesn’t matter what the population is, because when the soil is gone, you won’t be able to grow much any how.

READ THE BOOK ORGANIC FUTURES by Adrian Myers (note spelling correction from my earlier post).

Posted by: Scott Etienne at December 18, 2008 3:39 PM
Comment #272352

>then you are ludicrous by that definition. I however, did not call you ludicrous, only your ‘proposition’. Perhaps a reading refresher is in order?
Posted by: David R. Remer at December 18, 2008 03:04 PM

DRR,

Thanks, I always wanted to be thought of as ignorant and illiterate…:)

You refer to my thesis as ludicrous and my ability to understand the written word as less than less…but, you have not given a reasonable explanation as to why you feel that way.

My post on this thread have been on subject, i.e., Organic Farming and Global Warming. They have given rightious reason why one may not be necessary, and the other may be self reducing.

I grant that you may not agree with what I have said, and that is your privilege , but if you are going to comment, would you please aim those comments at the subject of the posts?

janedoe,

Yeah, I can name several myself, but since I’ve outlived my usefulness, I’ll leave that up to you females…;)

Posted by: Marysdude at December 18, 2008 4:56 PM
Comment #272353

Thank you for your reasoned response Scott. I agree with some of what you say especially as regards the depletion of our soils. My degree is in resource management and I took many soil courses in college. The chemistry of soil is quite complicated and it takes decades to create.

At some point we may be able to replace soil as has been done already to some limited degree.

Reading some of the comments above it would seem that some have obtained their view of farming from watching old reruns of “Little House on the Prairie”.

bills said, “”Farmers are heroes or we we would all be starving.” Well said bills.

Growing up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin in the 40’s and 50’s gives one a real understanding of the work required to make a living farming and running a dairy. It is backbreaking work requiring dawn to dusk working hours. Cows must be milked twice a day and take no vacations. One’s livelihood is subject to the whims of both nature and markets.

I visited Wisconsin last year to visit relatives and could hardly believe the number of farms that were now idle. While farming used to be a generational thing it no longer is. Farm kids when grown leave for the easy life in the city. Many counties in Wisconsin now forbid farm owners from subdividing their land to sell to would-be home builders. They want to keep the landscape pristine and free from over building. And many hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of acres across this country are non-productive as the owners are paid to let their fields lie idle.

It is unlikely we will run out of usable and fertile farm land any time soon in this country since we purposely idle so much of it. I can’t speak to the rest of the world.

For me, I’ll keep eating my meat and potatoes and be happy that’s it’s available. Frankly, I can’t taste the difference between organic and non-organic veggies. We have a small garden every year and use some commercial fertilizers and pesticides. Our tomatoes and sweet corn are just delicious. I do know however, that I like the eggs from free-range chickens much better than those produced from chickens in wire cages.

Posted by: Jim M at December 18, 2008 5:41 PM
Comment #272364

About half the black earth soil that made the Midwest farmland so productive has been blown into the river and is now polluted delta. It was blown there because of over plowing and disking during dry times. The rest has been reduced to zero productivity because of overuse of fertalizers and pestacides. Without those products today, we would not have half the food we do on store shelves.

Our farmland is now as fake as a model’s boobs.

Posted by: Marysdude at December 18, 2008 7:48 PM
Comment #272446

We sure could do a lot better starting right here in the northeast, many farms in Vermont and upstate NY practice organic farming, the huge farms in the Midwest might present a little challenge as growing wheat is a one harvest a year crop that requires very little irrigation if any at all and wheat is a big staple item.they do plow the chafe in the ground in the fall. And California with it’s central valley of millions of acres they use huge amounts of water, developing more drought tolerant and diseases tolerant crops would be a good start. and from seeing first hand accounts of Kansas growing corn because of the ethanol bill where they normally grow wheat was a disaster for the farmers as they had to irrigate and buy equipment and more expensive pesticides and fertilizers Just a fact Folks

Posted by: Rodney Brown at December 19, 2008 6:33 PM
Comment #272743

Rodney,

This may be just a fact for you and those who have to make a buck and know no other way, but there are organic farmers that dispute this kind of “no other way” mentality. You do not have to be beholden to Monsanto, Carghill and DeKalb and their “better world through stronger poisons and designer GM crops” creed. Pests are adapting and becoming so resistant to pesticides that they have to genetically modify crops to resist the stronger poisons now being applied to them. If you can see that undesirable organisms are adapting and developing a tolerance, then the establishment will perpetuate this vicious cycle, which will lead to catastrophe with cancers, gene-damage and reproductive damage in humans, GM-cross pollination, contaminating heirloom strains to unknown consequences, and eventually a complete, inability to produce food that is safe to eat and does not destroy us. And, nobody has yet identified how the soil is going to be rebuilt.

Funny thing is, when you have rich soil, rich in nutrients, living organisms and diversity, you don’t have to fertilize. And, when you have a diversity of organisms, rarely can one dominate to the point of severe yield reduction. Replace the costs of pesticides, fertilizers and equipment to apply them and put it on the other side of the balance sheet, and see that often these costs offset crop loss to pests. In Australia, they have pest-predator-farms in lieu of chemical-pesticide plants, and when there is an infestation, apply the predators to much success.

http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/organicfutures

Posted by: Scott Etienne at December 23, 2008 9:38 AM
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