Let’s face it, no matter what value our electorate or politicians put on agriculture, without us, no one eats. This indeed, insures our industry, but more so, it gives clout to farmers and the agricultural industry world-wide. Unfortunately, all too often there is intervention from academics, those who may have never farmed themselves, or grew up on a farm, and that is somewhat problematic as you and I both know.
To illustrate this point and to shed some light on this topic, there was an interesting article in Seed Daily Online News recently entitled; “UN Expert Calls for Farming Changes” by the staff writers in Geneva – posted on October 16, 2010. Amongst the concerns were that 14% of all man-caused greenhouse emissions came from agriculture. Still, I’d like to remind my readers that only 2.6% of all CO2 in the atmosphere is man-made anyway. Other issues included;
1.-Over use of chemical fertilizers and runoff into the ocean and lakes (algae blooms and dead zones).
2.-Too much cultivation, plowing, and soil turn over challenging water resources.
3.-Tired soil and a predicted drop in crop yields of 50% in Africa in the next decade (even though they’ve been climbing for 50-years).
4.-Wheat Fungus or Ug99 fungus.
5.-Locust Plagues increasing due to water resources and climate change.
It appears that the UN was business making headlines on World Food Day, and they certainly got some media attention, but is this really a major problem and are these truly the issues we should be addressing here and now? Indeed, it is good to be “United Against Hunger” as they state, and carbon-neutral farming and agriculture is possible, but is that really a viable option or will it exacerbate the issues above?
Agriculture is something that central governments or world leaders are not so good at. In fact, it has never really worked. When government gets in the way of distribution or forces quotas, or involves itself in trade disputes, everyone loses and the price goes up. And that isn’t always good for the farmer, as usually the commodity brokers make the excess due to fear or manipulated supply and demand issues. As much as none of us farmers want to sit in committees with bureaucrats to enlighten them on reality, it appears we have no choice.
Thus, we must send our association representatives, or pay a lobbyist or lawyer to make sure our best interests are not thrown under the bus. Worst of all, if we lose, everyone loses, and people starve – when people starve people die, and that is simply unacceptable – okay so, you already know how serious this issue is, so please consider all this.