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The looming agricultural crises
Posted: 12 August 2012 05:54 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Most Americans, and others for that matter are unaware that barely 2% of the population is feeding us and that number may shrink as the small farmer disappears. Since the post war era new farm machinery has made it easier to plant, cultivate and harvest leading to farmers selling their land to the ever increasing mega-farms and crop specialization. Here in Ohio more farm land is sold for tremendous profit to land developers for suburban housing. In short, tillable land is disappearing or being sold to large corporations who hire day laborers to do the work. And those who do keep their farms are aging. The youth are opting for other professions.

What this means is that prices are being regulated more by the farm businesses as well as the produce that we eat. FI animals are being fed chemicals and hormones that directly effect us. Also, there are congressmen out there who want to drop the Dept. of Ag. Programs that provide subsidies and programs to encourage future farmer programs. So far, we’re feeding not only our country and many others too numerous to mention but how long can we continue with droughts, floods and shrinking farmland? What happens when we run out of places to plant our cabbages? Go to Canada? Crops don’t grow well where there’s pine trees and you can’t plow the tundra.


http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2011/10/06/337170/food-aging-farmers/


Cap’t Jack

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Posted: 12 August 2012 06:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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And with climate change areas that get enough rain to be farmed may become desert while former deserts become arable.  However. the switch-over will take a few decades during which there will be extreme shortages.

I guess I have to give in and move to Hawaii near my daughter since she owns a couple of acres with fruit trees, a small fish pond and chickens. 

Occam

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Posted: 12 August 2012 07:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I din’t know Occam, I hear that the land there is being overrun with homes and hotels. Pretty soon it’ll be hard to find a pineapple plantation! Aloha Oy!

Cap’t Jack

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Posted: 12 August 2012 09:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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If the tropical zones get too hot, there will be a mass migration from the tropical zones to the other zones.

http://www.ehow.com/info_8160068_six-climate-zones.html

btw. For those who use air conditioning in their cars, this may be of interest.
http://www.snopes.com/medical/toxins/benzene.asp

[ Edited: 12 August 2012 09:59 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 12 August 2012 10:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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She lives a few miles north of the volcano at the 800 foot level.  It’s much cooler there, and the subdivision she bought in is older and rural and all of the lots are one to two acres so there’s not much chance of urban blight.  She’s been putting in solar panels and plans to do a few more and hook air conditioning to them.

Occam

To correct a typo

[ Edited: 13 August 2012 10:21 AM by Occam. ]
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Posted: 13 August 2012 03:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Don’t worry though.

Eventually things will get so bad, that growing your own produce will be necessary for survival.

A completely new system of agriculture will arise with the future neo stone age people.

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Posted: 13 August 2012 04:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Now on to the farm bill, which if passed would “level the playing field for farmers competing with the mega farms or agribusinesses that monopolize crops and their prices on the market and supply places like Walmart for produce. Both Romney and his new running mate Ryan vow to block any renewal of the bill. farm bills are generally renewed every five years and are a product of the a great Depression legislation. The Roosevelt administration created two programs, the AAA and the 2nd AAA to provide subsidies to farmers losing their farms to foreclosure and the dust bowl. Hmmmmm, sound familiar? It was created by a five year drought in the Midwest. The agribusiness lobby is spending millions (and they have it too) to deregulate the farm industry. Walmart FI spent over 70 mil in lobby money. Economic crises+crop failure due to changing weather patterns= Great Depression, again.

http://documents.foodandwaterwatch.org/doc/FarmBill101Report.pdf


Cap’t Jack

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Posted: 15 August 2012 10:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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The sad fact is, monster factory farms, GM foods, pesticides, herbicides, animal issues, pollution, and all the other bad-news stories surrounding our daily bread, are necessary to feed the growing number of people on earth. 

The solutions are difficult and expensive, so I expect them to be delayed for too long and many will suffer.  When the real value of food and water is realized by the masses, things will change.  Until then, bigger profits for corporations, and bigger houses, nicer cars, more electronic gadgets and longer vacations for the public, will supersede basic necessities.

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Posted: 15 August 2012 11:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I have this argument often with some of my back-to-nature type friends. Most of them live on farms and raise most of what they eat, and they rail constantly against big agri-business, GM crops, pesticides, etc. And I have to constantly remind them that it’s only because of the rapid pace of advances in agricultural science that we have been able to keep feeding the world. There is no way to feed 7 billion people from the produce of small organic farms. I am by no means comfortable with all the practices of modern agriculture, particularly of the treatment of animals and the effects on the environment. But I am even less comfortable with watching the world starve to death.

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Posted: 16 August 2012 07:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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It’s not the advances in agritultural science I’m concerned about Free, because without those improvements we’d all be hurting for food. My main concern is with the megafarms squeezing out the smaller farmers and not allowing for fair market competition which in the past has led to some pretty shady practices by the big boys. Ex. Sinclair’s “The Jungle”. OTOH, the “back to nature guys” who want to immitate the Amish can do it the hard way but as you mentioned, can’t feed all of us. There needs to be a balance between the small farmer and truck gardener and the farm industry. Passing the farm bill would certainly help.


Cap’t Jack

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Posted: 16 August 2012 07:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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We’re on the same page (as usual). Jack.  wink

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Posted: 18 August 2012 06:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Cap’t

My main concern is with the megafarms squeezing out the smaller farmers and not allowing for fair market competition which in the past has led to some pretty shady practices by the big boys

The family farm is going the way of the village blacksmith for much the same reasons, larger size operations brings efficiency.  As for the “shady practices” that is what we have governments for:  to regulate and control people who are taking unfair advantage of others.

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Posted: 18 August 2012 10:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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The family farm is going the way of the village blacksmith for much the same reasons, larger size operations brings efficiency.  As for the “shady practices” that is what we have governments for:  to regulate and control people who are taking unfair advantage of others.


I understand that Gary, the problem is the government isn’t regulating it to the benefit of those who don’t want to be cooped by the mega farm industry, Food, Inc. Is an example. Shady practices are used daily to put barely edible food on the market and the FDA can’t monitor it all; they simply don’t have the personnel to be on site when the food is processed. So regulation is sporadic. As more local farmers are pushed out of the business, the consumer has fewer and fewer choices for healthier foods and obesity and the diseases related to it increases. More fat, more salt, more sugar and meat impregnated with hormones. It’s getting harder to find grass fed beef and range fed chickens also fresh vegetables free of contamination. Mega farms let these slip through the cracks, tighter gov’t controls would help.


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Posted: 23 August 2012 09:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Cap’t:

As more local farmers are pushed out of the business, the consumer has fewer and fewer choices for healthier foods and obesity and the diseases related to it increases

In my experience family farmers are often no better, and often even worse than large corps at “shady practices.”  They are much harder to identify when they send diseased products to market as they are not large enough to police throughly nor do they have a natinal or regional reputation to defend in most cases.  Also they are often not as efficient as they do not have the scale neecessary to make the most efficient technology possible.

A futher point (from an ex-taxman cool grin) My cousins, who are full time farmers, often complain they can’t buy additional land due to the high level of expemtion from estate taxes now in force.  What they are looking at his farms that aren’t being sold off at the death of the owner and are not being farmed by the heirs as they have gotten out of farming into other lines of work.  The heirs keep the land as an investment and/or for a summer house, etc.  If they farm at all it is only enough to keep the property tax rate at the reduced rate for farms.  If these succeeding owners would have had to pay an adequate estate tax, my cousins feel they would have an improved oppurtunity to buy more acreage expand their operations to a size that will continue to provide an adequate living for them and their families.

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Posted: 24 August 2012 12:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Semi-OT…

I’m about a third of the way through a sci-fi book titled the Windup Girl. It’s set in a future in which energy production is back to animal power, humanity’s food supply is plagued with genetically engineered viruses and insects (more of the planet is starving than our own ‘time’) and powerful agri-corporations send agents (calorie men) to scour the globe looking for the next profit. Interesting read so far!

FreeInKy - 15 August 2012 11:56 AM

I have this argument often with some of my back-to-nature type friends. Most of them live on farms and raise most of what they eat, and they rail constantly against big agri-business, GM crops, pesticides, etc. And I have to constantly remind them that it’s only because of the rapid pace of advances in agricultural science that we have been able to keep feeding the world. There is no way to feed 7 billion people from the produce of small organic farms. I am by no means comfortable with all the practices of modern agriculture, particularly of the treatment of animals and the effects on the environment. But I am even less comfortable with watching the world starve to death.

I’m in total agreement here. Not to mention (I think I read it in Guns, Germs, and Steel ?) that people now live in all the most fertile areas and we’ve moved food production to the least fertile areas which necessitates more water, more soil enrichment, etc.

Take care,

Derek

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Posted: 06 September 2012 10:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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And everyone thinks I’m crazy when I say we should live on vat-grown miycoprotein, GE algae, and krill.  That crap we could make underneath out stripmalls and bargain stores.  Where values are king.

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