×
×
homepage logo

GUEST COLUMN

By Staff | Mar 25, 2010

Organic markets, starting tiny, have increased by 20 percent per year for decades, and now get bashed in the mainstream ag press, as in David Kruse’s “Organic Illusions” (March 12).

Organic facts are now occasionally known, and even debated, but not in Kruse’s world. Obama’s efforts are needed, and much more.

As our crisis of running out of fossil fuels rises exponentially, organic farming will come to dominate agriculture, as it uses much less fuel. It also sequesters far more carbon, as Rodale Institute research has shown.

Grass fed, draft-powered livestock systems and organic no-till are prime examples, beating the pants off of CAFOs and industrial ag.

The mission of agriculture is to provide healthy food and good jobs, while avoiding unneeded costs, including hidden costs in damage to health, environment, biodiversity, economy and community. Organic systems are far superior in each case.

The many hidden costs of industrial food are paid elsewhere in our economy. The greatest cost is the devastating loss of our family farm heritage of crop and livestock genetic diversity, which puts the whole world at an unprecedented ecological risk, but which Kruse calls an “ideological, not science-based” concern.

Likewise, John Ikerd, citing 59 industrialization studies and 40 health studies has explained, “Virtually every study done on … [CAFOs] in the past 20 years has confirmed” these hidden costs, including especially the economic damage to rural communities, where, for example, three independent farmers are lost for each CAFO job created.

Kruse turns away from the obesity and diabetes epidemics, and the projection that our children’s generation will die sooner than ours.

Kruse, imitates the 1974 Earl Butz in treating the recent price spike as if farmers had made a profit overall over the past three decades. USDA Economic Research Service data clearly show that the big five crops (and additional feed grains) lost money versus full costs nearly

every year, 1981-2006.

Only 1996 was above zero. Farmers can see their main streets, but Kruse insists the ag sector is the most profitable of all. Really, a reincarnated 1980s farm crisis lies ahead.

OPEC used its market share to raise prices. With help from the likes of Butz and Kruse, we did the opposite. 2008 wheat, under the spike, was 7.4 percent of oil, not a barrel for a bushel, as we had prior to the Butz era.

America lost money on farm exports every year for a quarter century under Kruse’s favored trend.

Kruse’s illusory industrial ideology hails to the 1950s. He favors megatechnic monopoly control. The sustainability paradigm is a 21st century polytechnics and ecotechnics. As Lewis Mumford showed in The Myth of the Machine, Kruse’s megatechnics, his Manhattan projects of innovation represent “authoritarian technics” that are incapable of creating a just food system.

It can wage war, but applied to ecology and human culture, no good can come of it.

As the Rodale Institute has found, productivity has been superior under organic systems long term, in spite of the pittance of innovation money coming its way. Beyond that, world hunger is caused by poverty, such as the loss of independent farmer jobs world wide.

Least developed countries are 70 percent rural. We chose to lose money on exports so we could destroy them as customers. Meanwhile, as Stewart Smith showed, most of the “farm share” of the food dollar goes through to Kruse’s prized input complex.

Projecting ahead, there will be no farm share by 2020.

Such is Kruse’s ideological utopia.

Any farmer not too old to do real farming still has a choice. But “such a deal” Kruse has for you.

Please Enter Your Facebook App ID. Required for FB Comments. Click here for FB Comments Settings page