Monday, March 27, 2006

Anti-Agricultural Agenda

Some of the top reasons that people offer for choosing organic food is their belief that it is safer, better for the environment, and some go as far as to say that it is more nutritious. Others feel that it helps promote the family farmer. Through this blog I will continually resound the theme that these notions are incorrect.

Why? First, for scientific accuracy. Second, because aside from being a fad, and aside from those organic patrons genuinely seeking health and well being, there are those cohorts of an organic movement that are motivated by an anti-capitalist and anti-agriculture agenda.

Because modern technology makes agriculture an information driven and capital-intensive industry, because this is made possible by economic growth and capitalism, and because it works so well, the modern farmer makes a difficult mascot for any socialist or interventionist agenda.

These people prefer an agriculture of the past. I’m not talking about the strong work ethic and rural values that they try to romanticize in their cause, I’m talking about mules and pitchforks. For their mascot they want the `family farmer` that milks two cows and grows sweet corn for the local market. And they want the government to subsidize that way of life. They want us to believe that only this type of organic production is healthy and sustainable.

The modern farming operation then becomes a `factory` farm and livestock management is deemed cruelty.

The truth is that this is an anathema to modern agriculture, and the most anti-agricultural stance one could take. This vision promotes the stereotype of an ignorant rural America devoid of education and technology. It then stigmatizes the modern producer that takes advantage of better education (High School FFA or College) and technology like herbicide resistant crops and improved livestock genetics.

While organic foods can offer us a fad choice and possibly a sense of nostalgia, modern agriculture will provide us with food, fiber, medicine, and perhaps energy for years to come.

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