Texas Farm Bureau

In view of recent calls on this blogspace for fairness and balance in our point of view, I’m hopeful that some of you will complain to Time for making no attempt to bow to the deities of journalistic principle.  I tried real hard to find some objectivity there, but was mostly unsuccessful. No wonder the news weeklies are in trouble.

The piece “The Real Cost of Cheap Food” was, of course, yet another broadside against modern agriculture. I don’t think I need to rehash my defense of today’s food production miracle. You can find that all over this blog.

What Time and other critics fail to recognize is that there are some harsh realities to feeding more than 6 billion people. It cannot be done via strictly organic means and by local production. If you plan to prove otherwise, start early and stay late. The math does not add up. There’s not enough natural nitrogen.  Great swaths of forest would have to be felled to meet the production needs. Then there’s that troubling lack of evidence that organic is any safer.

Agriculture will need to change, no doubt about it. It’s been changing rapidly for more than 100 years.  In fact, as environmental advances come out of the lab, agriculture has been quite quick to adopt them. It’s ironic to me that genetic advances are one of the best means for reducing pesticide use.  Plants have been developed that use only a fraction of the water used to grow the same plants only a few years ago. Yet, each genetic advance has come only after a costly political bloodbath.

Consumers will have the last word in all of this. Consumers here and across the world will vote with their disposable income. We will never get to the point where we can do it all organically, but I expect that market will grow. I really like the fact that people who want organic and locally grown produce can find it very easily these days. That’s part of the food production miracle I keep talking about – but it is only a part. 

 

Gene Hall

Public Relations Director
Texas Farm Bureau
I believe that the only hope for a food secure world is capitalism and reasonable profits for America’s farm and ranch families–that the first element of sustainability is economic survival.
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