Letters

Rethink agriculture

March 22, 2014

I appreciate the recognition that there are alternatives to industrialized agriculture [March 17 editorial], but I encourage IBJ not to fall into the trap of “feeding the world.”

What we call conventional agriculture here in the United States is not the way to feed the world, anyway. Productivity gains from genetically modified organisms have plateaued and now it’s just a treading water exercise trying to keep up with nature, as IBJ correctly pointed out.

The U.S. is unique in that when Europeans moved, they found either empty land or displaced the existing population. As farms grew over the past 60 or so years we were able to move the displaced farmers into factories, etc.

Obviously, this isn’t a viable alternative anymore anywhere in the world.

China plans to relocate millions of people to cities over the next several years and increase the average farm size to three acres, up from 1.5 acres.

So the answer to “feeding the world” actually has to focus on significantly smaller farms rather than ever-larger industrial farming.

Chris Baggott,

farmer and CEO, Tyner Pond Farm, Greenfield
 

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