Going Green

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Random Thoughts on Some Issues in Agriculture

It has been awhile (again) since I have posted anything on this blog.  I don't know why, but, I feel compelled to write something agriculturally related!

Perhaps it is the approach of Spring that has me thinking agriculture.  I flew over the Flint Hills today as American Airlines took me from DFW to Omaha and saw several burned places as well as burning grasslands.  It is the time of year when ranchers are preparing for Spring rains and the renewing of the grasslands.

Burning the prairie to control the noxious weeds and brush is still commonly practiced in the Flint Hills.  It should be practiced in a lot of other places too, but, it isn't.  Brush has invaded much of the former grazing lands where buffalo once roamed -- from Texas to the Dakotas.  There does seem to be renewed interest in controlled burning though.  I'd really like to see it happen.  The problem is, the uninformed will complain about the smoke in the air.

It is amazing to me how people have lost touch with the land and the source of their food supply.  Urban sprawl and misguided government programs have cost much of the land that used to be the home to beef cattle.  That land today is growing houses or invasive weed, brush and tree species because it is in a "conservation" program of some sort.  Ranchers generally do an exceptional job of managing land the way it should be managed.  Using grazing species of animals to harvest grass and control invasive species is the way God designed it.  Instead, it now takes an army of people to do what a good rancher can accomplish by himself and maybe a couple of hired hands.

I guess when the price of beef gets too high, people might start to see things differently.  But, I guess that's the agenda of the Vegans and Vegetarians anyway -- cause the price of beef to increase until people can't afford to eat it.  Doesn't that make a lot of sense?  Make high-quality protein unaffordable to people who need it.  Sounds like a pretty elitist attitude to me.

But, there is the argument that the world can't feed itself if so much of the agricultural capacity is utilized for producing protein from inefficient sources like cattle.  I have several problems with that.  First, cattle are extremely efficient utilizers of forage that is unusable by humans unless converted to meat first.  Second, the reason people are starving in the world has nothing to do with beef cattle in the U.S. or other places.  It's more about corruption and poor governance.  Third, the force driving food prices and availability, etc. is fuel prices and policies.  Oil is the energy choice most easily utilized for producing food.  Or, we could go back to human and animal labor if you prefer (and some think we should).  So, what does our government do?  It uses some of that food produced using oil to create an additive (alcohol) to add to the oil used to produce it.  How does that make sense?  Talk about inefficient utilization!

Arrgh....too many interwoven issues -- all of them created by misguided people with misguided policies.  If I didn't know better, I'd think the Devil himself was trying to make it as difficult as possible for farmers and ranchers to do their job.  Malnourished people are much more likely to fall for his schemes than are healthy, happy ones.  Besides, misery is his stock in trade.....

14 comments:

Mroberts said...

I agree Chris; making beef prices rise for selfish agendas is not the best thing when there are those less unfortunate that depend on meat as a staple food in their diet.

Pallet Inverter said...

sadly common sense seems to carry less weight now than it used too

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farmland investments said...

Some of the agriculture policies are truly stupid!

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Lucas King said...

Interesting thoughts, good ideas, I definitely think the local is that only way to go.
I am trying to launch an idea of my own. The idea is to start a farm, very small at first, but eventually grow. The idea is to be 90% self sustainable within the first 3 years. I want to detail my ideas and the successes and failures to help show and inspire others to turn to local-sustainable-natural farming and gardening. If the movement can continue to spread it will greatly, I believe it will greatly reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and help start in the right direction to greatly reducing our impact on the environment. Visit http://www.thenewworldfarm.blogspot.com to check out my ideas.

Callum Pragnell said...

This is a difficult one, different people are going to sway in each direction, making it impossible for an outcome to be totally agreed with. We'll just have to wait and see however I for one can see that this will make farmers jobs even more difficult both short and long term.

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hasan said...

The world is going to be global warming for because of reducing the agriculture cultivation.I want to detail my ideas and the successes and failures to help show and inspire others to turn to local-sustainable-natural farming and gardening

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