Sustainability

Hooray for Factory Farming!

It's is good for the environment and it feeds people too.

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HarvestingOrientalyDreamstime
Orientaly/Dreamstime

The Union of Concerned Scientists dismisses "industrial farming" as "the outdated, unsustainable system that dominates U.S. food production." Greenpeace urges people to "say no to industrial agriculture" while denouncing "our broken and unsustainable food system." They typically recommend a switch to small-scale organic farming as a supposedly sustainable form of food production. Considering, for example, that organic wheat yields are anywhere from 64 percent to just half of those produced by conventional farming, it's a very interesting definition of "sustainable."

In the Sunday New York Times, Jayson Lusk, a professor of agricultural economics at Oklahoma State University shows in a wonderful op-ed what unsustainable nonsense is being peddled to a credulous public by clueless activists about the alleged unsustainability of conventional farming. Lusk explains how the dramatic increase in productivity in modern farming since 1950 has prevented the plowing down of hundreds of millions of acres of additional land and the production of more milk and meat growing fewer animals. Lusk notes:

Before "factory farming" became a pejorative, agricultural scholars of the mid-20th century were calling for farmers to do just that — become more factorylike and businesslike. From that time, farm sizes have risen significantly. It is precisely this large size that is often criticized today in the belief that large farms put profit ahead of soil and animal health.

FarmingNYTimes
Jason Lusk/New York Times

But increased size has advantages, especially better opportunities to invest in new technologies and to benefit from economies of scale. Buying a $400,000 combine that gives farmers detailed information on the variations in crop yield in different parts of the field would never pay on just five acres of land; at 5,000 acres, it is a different story.

These technologies reduce the use of water and fertilizer and harm to the environment. Modern seed varieties, some of which were brought about by biotechnology, have allowed farmers to convert to low- and no-till cropping systems, and can encourage the adoption of nitrogen-fixing cover crops such as clover or alfalfa to promote soil health.

Herbicide-resistant crops let farmers control weeds without plowing, and the same technology allows growers to kill off cover crops if they interfere with the planting of cash crops. The herbicide-resistant crops have some downsides: They can lead to farmers' using more herbicide (though the type of herbicide is important, and the new crops have often led to the use of safer, less toxic ones).

But in most cases, it's a trade-off worth making, because they enable no-till farming methods, which help prevent soil erosion.

These practices are one reason soil erosion has declined more than 40 percent since the 1980s.

Improvements in agricultural technologies and production practices have significantly lowered the use of energy and water, and greenhouse-gas emissions of food production per unit of output over time. United States crop production now is twice what it was in 1970.

There is one continent where organic agriculture is the dominant form of farming - Africa. Cereal yields in Nigeria average 1,594 kilograms per hectare (kph); in Niger 436 kph; and Kenya 1,628 kph. In the U.S. cereal yield is 7,637 kilograms per hectare - yields are about five times higher. Due to ever more productive factory farming, humanity has very likely reached peak farmland and more land will be returned to nature as more food is grown on less land. What's outdated and unsustainable are environmentalist demands to abandon modern farming technologies.

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  1. Can we still demonize it for taking subsidies?

      1. But gluten! But the next demon that everyone buys into!

        1. Remember, the next time you find yourself to be 6’4″ tall and weighing between 180-200 lbs. it’s because you’ve suffered, all your life, from a disease recognized in children a century ago by their ‘failure to thrive’.

    1. Not just subsidies, but demonic regulations that put small farms out of business.

      1. ^^^Double This^^^

      2. “Not just subsidies, but demonic regulations that put small farms out of business.”

        Could be, but economies of scale already made ‘small farms’ every bit as viable as ‘small auto companies’.

        1. economies of scale already made ‘small farms’ every bit as viable as ‘small auto companies’.

          Yes and no. Small auto companies that produce expensive, high end, hand made cars can sell their wares to people with shitloads of money, just like small, organic farms can sell high priced shit to hipsters and celebrities with more money than common sense.

          The problem is that those hipsters and celebutards are insisting that everyone else be forced to make the same (expensive) choices they make.

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  2. My goodness, 1594 kilograms per hectare? Can you even imagine?

    1. That’s, like, 254 hogsheads to the square rod.

      1. 248. Do you even google, Broh?

    2. Nearly a ton/acre is pretty impressive.

      1. I grew up in ag country, so “ton” and “acre” are measures I comprehend and would not get my lunch stolen for using.

  3. I wouldn’t object to scaling down animal farming, but it would be for animal welfare reasons. It would necessarily make meat less affordable though. I’ve already switched to the free range eggs. They cost twice as much but that means they’re 4 something instead of 2 something. It’s harder for me to afford the grass-fed non-CAFO beef, but I’d buy more of it if it were the only thing available.

    With that said, grains and vegetables should be “factory” farmed. But, things like nuts and coffee might be better to try to farm them more “sustainably” somehow.

    1. If you’re making an argument about animal welfare, that’s something that might get play around these parts. But I’m loathe to hear your reason for “sustainably” farming nuts and coffee.

      1. Well, which animals have rights? And how do you determine those rights? The entire argument for animal rights is based on stripping rights away from individual humans. And if you really want to go as far as the diehards, a god damn fish or species of plant is enough to restrict human activity.

        I don’t much like the idea of animals suffering. But then again, I’m not a vegetarian and the concept of animal rights/welfare (I’m not making a distinction here) when we are talking about creatures raised for the sole purpose of being slaughtered for food is a bit ridiculous.

        1. “The entire argument for animal rights is based on stripping rights away from individual humans”

          ONE argument is. Maybe the most popular one. But by no means is every argument for animal rights or animal welfare about stripping away human rights.

        2. Well, which animals have rights? And how do you determine those rights?

          This also ignores lots of features of centuries of animal companionship. Leaving a cow to the wolves was no more humane 500-1000 yrs. ago than leaving a herd of cattle to fend for themselves would be today.

        3. I don’t think you need to believe that animals have rights to be concerned for animal welfare.

          But I don’t think that many farmers want animals to suffer unnecessarily either. To someone who has never dealt with livestock, I’m sure even the most conscientious farming of livestock looks pretty horrible at some point. The point is, after all, to kill and eat them.

          1. And what is the basis for animal calls for animal welfare? We are talking about something purely emotional. And more to the point, something a number of people would love to use government to interfere with. And it’s not at all clear what Juice meant when he said he wouldn’t object to scaling back for animal welfare.

            Discussions of animal welfare stem back to rights, so as I said – I am going to associate the two.

            1. There are two different issues: animal rights and animal welfare. You can favor animal welfare laws without favoring animal rights. This is one example where the NAP does not provide much guidance. Most reasonable people support animal welfare laws, though ultimately it would be better to approach these issues through social activism and education.

              1. Most reasonable people support animal welfare laws, though ultimately it would be better to approach these issues through social activism and education.

                ^ This. Get the government involved, and it will only add human suffering to the animal suffering, without addressing the latter.

              2. “Most reasonable people support animal welfare laws,”

                So you presume “most reasonable people” prefer higher food costs? I’ll disagree.\

              3. Which doesn’t explain what the rational basis for animal welfare laws come from. What are animal welfare laws based on? The NAP forms the basis for providing human rights in the libertarian worldview. What I see when people talk about animal welfare is a set of arbitrary rules that seem completely emotionally based.

                1. Which doesn’t explain what the rational basis for animal welfare laws come from.

                  That causing needless suffering in another sentient being is fundamentally immoral even if you brought the creature into existence for your own purposes.

                  If you really want to get into the weeds of rational ethics, saying you have a right to cause a creature suffering merely because you brought it into existence with the intent of eating it later applies as much to a test-tube baby you bring about through artificial insemination as it does to a calf you raise in captivity.

                  A statement like “Most reasonable people support animal welfare laws” I take as applying to this concept: i.e. that most people agree that grievous animal cruelty should be punishable, not that most people agree that treatment of animals on farms should de facto be government regulated in the name of “animal welfare.”

                2. All morality is ultimately emotionally based, Brochettaward.

              4. There are two different issues: animal rights and animal welfare. You can favor animal welfare laws without favoring animal rights.

                They kinda mean the same thing, especially if you’re talking about making laws.

            2. Most people have some concern over human suffering, even if the suffering isn’t because of violations of people’s rights. That’s about the same as people being concerned about animal suffering.

              But I think both are things that shouldn’t be the basis for law. Being concerned about human or animal suffering says good things about a person, I think. That doesn’t mean you should be forced to do something about either.

            3. And what is the basis for animal calls for animal welfare? We are talking about something purely emotional.

              And concern for human welfare is different?

        4. I’m mostly vegetarian. I still eat some fish. For me it has more to do with uncertainty. I’m not certain whether eating meat is wrong or not. Eating meat is unnecessary. Therefore, the most conservative approach is to avoid it. If you’re unsure whether something is harmful, but you think there is a good chance it is, best to avoid it if possible,

          1. “Eating meat is unnecessary.”

            That’s a lie. Absent some animal protein, you die. Period.

            1. Well, everybody dies. If you mean that you die…imminently…I’ve known plenty of vegans who prove that to be incorrect. But that’s an extremist position – the moral case against dairy and eggs is much more dubious.

              1. See below; you either eat animal protein or you die. Period.

            2. Absent some animal protein, you die. Period.

              Not true – BUT, yes you do need vitamin B12, which can only be had from animal sources (including dairy products).

              1. “…which can only be had from animal sources…”
                Thank you for making my point.

                1. B12 can be synthesized from bacteria.

                  1. Thank you for making my point yet again.

                    1. Thank you for making my point yet again.

                      Congratulations, you’ve proven the hypocrisy of Level 6 Vegans. I guess eating animals is ok after all.

                  2. Well, I’m and advocate for bacteria welfare, so, there you go…

                  3. So now you want to farm bacteria for B12 without getting a tasty ribeye. I’ll pass

                2. B12 =/= protein. What point were you trying to make?

            3. Animal protein doesn’t have to come from “meat.” You can get all of your protein needs from eggs and milk.

          2. “I’m mostly vegetarian. I still eat some fish…Eating meat is unnecessary.”
            MEAT: the flesh of an animal.
            If you eat fish, an animal, you are eating meat. You are not really a vegetarian at all are you.
            MEAT is also what Kevin Costner called Tim Robinson in the film Bull Durham.

            1. As I said, I’m mostly vegetarian. I still eat some fish. Hence the mostly.

        5. I figure as long as humans don’t treat them worse than they would be treated by other wild animals, human care is a plus. Any bozo who complains that a dog on a leash is imprisonment ought to be dumped in the wold between a herd of deer and a pack of wolves.

          1. Not having a “dog in the hunt” – I try to apply the “disinterested” principal in these matters – I’d be left to think if you needed a leash to keep an animal around, they’d probably rather be elsewhere than in your company. If they make a mistake in judgement, and they’re devoured by wolves a few minutes later, that’s their problem.

            In short, about “welfare” versus “rights” versus whatever, again, practicing disinterest is the best approach. There’s altogether too much wrong with the world, and not enough hours in the day, to become “interested” in all and everything, and – of course -everything is nothing. A re-purposing of the invisible hand is if you take the best care of what you’re interested in, and allow people to do the same, you’ll more than likely have a wholesome culture to live in, for the most part. The outlier of people who enjoy torturing animals to death for the sheer fun of it will be very very few and far between. If animals are kept as assets, those people interested in those assets have value to protect, and animals kept around for companionship probably know a good thing when they see it, and will stick around voluntarily.

            In the end, animals – like any resource – can have a thousand uses. Very few of those would be categorically offensive to the vast majority of people using reasonable standards. It’s those assholes for whom their fine tuned values have to applied to all that are the most insufferable. Ask the Koreans what they think of Loretta Swit.

        6. Well, which animals have rights? And how do you determine those rights?

          The same way that we determine what rights humans have and which humans deserve them, by mutual agreement.

          How do you have a libertarian society? You’re not going to get there by force or voting, but by education and mutual agreement.

      2. I’m just saying that certain crops, including some types of nuts, coffee, and the like are very harmful to the environment in which they are grown. If more coffee producers did the “shade grown” thing, it would be much less harmful. If nut producers moved their production to a place with abundant water instead of the desert, that would be much less harmful. It would make things more expensive, yes, but it would suck less.

    2. The brilliance of industrial farming is that, unlike organic and free range, it affords both.

      The $1.50-something/dozen eggs are raised in as minimal space as possible making plenty of room for pastures to cater to grass-fed beef and/or free-range chicken niches. As for farming nuts and coffee sustainably, aside from ‘spiritual’ or ‘artisanal’ reasons, why? I can get caffeine in powdered form and plenty of a wide array of unsaturated fatty acids from grains like flax.

      We like to imagine that, somehow, we’ve maintained a pristine palate and culinary composition handed down to us from some ancestral heritage but, to any adult, it’s clearly an illusion. Chicken nuggets didn’t exist in our parten’s generation, whole roasters were *the* product. Pork was routinely roasted into tastelessness in order to kill all manner of parasite. Now, chicken nuggets are abundant and a cultural staple. Hot dogs everywhere can be eaten “raw” as long as there’s no ketchup involved.

      1. “Spiritual”

        ***shudders***

        1. I refuse to be spiritual.

      2. Grown adults who eat chicken nuggets sicken me.

        1. You should probably get that checked out.

        2. It does make it more difficult to ask if the chicken had a name.

          1. If I judged my food by watching it be produced most of the more conventional cultural delights would end up at the bottom as well. British Cuisine is one of those things we all do together.

    3. I wouldn’t object to scaling down animal farming

      I think we can have both for those who are bothered.

      I am not in the least, so I don’t want to pay more to satisfy other people’s morals.

      1. I’m wondering what he means by that comment. Who is making the choice to scale down?

    4. Juice, Juice, Juice.

      “I have no objection to moving in the direction of greenie farming because I can afford it.”

      How nice for you.

      1. I just said that I can’t really afford it. Right now I can only afford the expensive eggs. I’d find a way to adapt if all beef was $15/lb and all pork was $10/lb though. I’d have to, wouldn’t I?

    5. Yes, this is the point, Juice. People that complain about factory farming are not complaining about higher cereal yields, but about pig pens that don’t allow the pigs to even turn around, about corn fed chickens that produce sickly pale yellow eggs, and about tomatoes that taste like cardboard because they are selected for durability during shipping, rather than taste.

      1. IMO, those pig pens should be banned and chickens should have some room to walk around. And yeah, I moved away from the sickly eggs because I started eating way more eggs and noticed that the free range ones were way better quality. Like not even close. It’s well worth the added cost.

    6. “But, things like nuts and coffee might be better to try to farm them more “sustainably” somehow.”

      “Sustainably”? You use that word, but I’m quite certain you haven’t a clue as to what it means.

      1. Well, I’m sure you’re very very smart and you’ll educate me.

  4. What’s outdated and unsustainable are environmentalist demands to abandon modern farming technologies.

    If only this were true.

  5. I look forward to factory-farmed marijuana.

    1. On contract for the Altria group.

  6. Guess I’m the only one who has confused “industrial farming” with “vertical farming.” Looks like I need to do some more reading.

  7. The Union of Concerned Scientists dismisses “industrial farming”

    Scientific Consensusssss!!!!!

  8. more trolling for Big Carb

  9. I lived on an organic farm as a kid, and I was pretty tight with the whole northeast organic thing. I toiled in the organic fields, harvesting box after box of organic spinach and organic summer squash as a kid. My Mom was one of the most prolific writers on the subject of organic agriculture. I think her book on propagation is still the go-to book. And of course we were close friends with the woman who eventually wrote the US standards for Organic labeling (a thankless job.)

    That said, you shouldn’t pay an extra cent for “organic” produce. You should pay more for good produce, and
    locally grown organic produce is often good. But take it from an organic farmer- the “organic” label is bullshit these days.

    1. you shouldn’t pay an extra cent for “organic” produce

      Doesn’t it invariably cost more? Not sure what you’re saying here.

      1. I think he’s saying: look at the quality of the actual produce and not the label.

      2. Doesn’t it invariably cost more? Not sure what you’re saying here.

        I think he’s saying that given a choice between paying less for non-organic, high quality produce or paying more for shitty, “organic” produce, you’re better off going for the quality over the organic.

      3. I wanted to buy organic, but it meant being in close proximity to the hipster douchebags at Whole Foods, who have not washed their hair or used deodorant since 1962. Ok, that’s a lie, I never really wanted to buy organic.

        1. That’s too bad. The Whole Foods stores I go to are largely patronized by young women in yoga pants.

          1. Yep, he is only hurting himself. On the other hand, I spent $200 at Whole Foods on my last trip for only two bags of stuff, so there is that.

          2. We rarely even go in there anymore. I like Fresh Market better when I feel like I want to spend more than things are worth.

          3. I was checking out at a Whole Foods on a Sunday morning a while back, looked around, and realized that of the dozen or so people waiting in checkout lines, I was the only one without a rolled up yoga mat hanging on my back.

        2. I appreciated this one-two punch delivery of comedy. Nicely done.

      4. I think he is saying that the organic label gets abused by people claiming to do a better job but doign nothing of the sort…

      5. If your local organic farm has good stuff, buy it because it’s good, not because it’s organic.

        There is a local organic farm that I get stuff from in the summer. I don’t care about the organic part, but it is generally excellent produce and that’s worth paying more for.

        Grocery store organic stuff isn’t worth paying anything extra for and rarely looks any better (and often looks worse) than the conventional stuff.

        1. Around here, the organic stuff usually looks sickly compared to the conventional, and costs more.

      6. I believe Smith is saying the “organic” label is not what he and his family did. Maybe he will reply and detail that.

        As for paying extra for organic, “organic”, and not-“organic”, I think the general rule is to “buy local” (in-season) and to buy “industrial” out-of-season (and canned or otherwise preserved).

        My dad subscribed to Prevention and Organic Gardening and Farming in the 60s for his hobby garden (about 2.5 acres) in Alaska. We have few pests (Moose excepted, they really liked Dad’s cabbage) and had fewer back then with longer, harsher winters. This allowed him to avoid chemical pesticides. He still used chemical fertilizer to boost the potato crop for those short summers (first frost – first week in September).

        1. “This allowed him to avoid chemical pesticides.”
          EVERYTHING IS MADE OF CHEMICALS!
          http://www.sciencegeek.net/tab…..oLarge.jpg

          1. Next you’re going to tell me that all food is organic.

            1. “Next you’re going to tell me that all food is organic.”
              I suspect you already know that.

        2. Indeed- what we did is produce very, very good produce (and we sold mainly to hihg-end restaurants in Stowe Vermont, restaurants that really appreciated the quality.) The fact that it was Organic allowed us to charge a premium for it, and it was that premium that almost allowed us to do so (we consistently lost money, but less than we would have without the Organic premium.)

          Good produce is good produce, and while I haven’t farmed in a long time I still like to cook and eat. I know and appreciate good produce when I see it, and will pay extra for it. “Organic” means nothing, but some farms take advantage of that premium to produce great produce. If you have the money it’s worth buying organic produce when it is better produce. But it’s not worth paying extra for produce just because it’s Organic, if it’s the same quality as cheaper non-Organic produce.

    2. you shouldn’t pay an extra cent for “organic” produce. You should pay more for good produce, and
      locally grown organic produce is often good

      This is my feeling. When it comes to non-animal products I really don’t care how it was produced, I just want it to be of high quality.

      1. Yep. I still generally find that ‘conventional’ fruit and veggies are superior, or at least more consistently good, than the organic equivalent on sale. But I’m finding it harder to tolerate pork or chicken not raised on pasture.

      2. “This is my feeling. When it comes to non-animal products I really don’t care how it was produced, I just want it to be of high quality.”
        Feel this!
        http://www.cabinetmagazine.org….._FINAL.jpg

    3. I’m reminded of a friend of mine owns a food manufacturing company/processing company. He has to have Kosher certification. The process entails a guy pulling into the parking lot in his Cadillac, my friend walks out with envelop in hand, passes it through the window, driver fingers through the contents, drives off.

  10. The beauty of environmentalism is that no matter what is done, there’s always something to bitch about and it’s always the fault of capitalism.

    1. They ain’t called watermelons for nuthin’ and the rind is pretty thin. Scratch one, you’ll see.

  11. The Union of Concerned Scientists dismisses “industrial farming” as “the outdated, unsustainable system that dominates U.S. food production.” would not be bothered if half of America starved to death.

    1. Every time I hear that it cracks me up. Concerned scientists. They are scientists and they are concerned. The appeal to authority and fear mongering is right there in the name.

      1. If they’re scientists, the thing they are most concerned about is keeping their grant money flowing.

    2. We’d not starve to death… We could sustain ourselves by the pure spiritual poetry of our scientifically-informed, rationalisticly Proper Gaiaistic Earth-Mother worship services… Have a little FAITH, ye infidels!!!

  12. But factory farming makes big corporations rich so it’s per se a bad thing, you racist.

  13. the outdated, unsustainable system that dominates U.S. food production

    Says the people who want us to return to a pre-19th century food chain.

    1. At least all 500 million of us who are still alive.

  14. Keep in mind, that at least some of these environmentalist orgs do not have a problem with a few billion people starving to death as a solution to ‘save the planet’.

  15. Farming kills Gaia because of over population! Down with farming and feeding evil CO2 expelling peopulz!

    /eugenicist prog idiot

  16. “…humanity has very likely reached peak farmland and more land will be returned to nature as more food is grown on less land”.

    Returning more land is an assumption that population does not grow and it does (and will).

    1. Yeah, but most people want to live where other people live. Cities will grow more than farm land will be converted to housing.

      And there is a lot of evidence to support the idea that world population growth is slowing and will reach some kind of equilibrium at some point.

  17. I like my produce like I like my women, stacked-up in an eye-pleasing display, cheap, and covered in a fine mist every three-to-four minutes.

    1. But what do you do with all the glitter and soggy $1 bills?

  18. I just finished Matt Ridley’s The Rational Optimist which covers this same beet and it was really good. Highly recommended.

    1. “…which covers this same beet…”

      I see where you’re headed; carrot I join you?

      1. I’m already married so I cantaloupe.

  19. I spent some time in Kenya earlier this year: the biggest damn avocados I’ve ever seen, the size of small watermelons; their organic farmers are doing something right!

    1. Well, don’t make a mountain out of a guacamole hill!

      1. That region’s “Mexican” cooking — Nairobi is (surprisingly, at least to me) multicultural — is a bit lacking.

  20. Reminds me of the article in Scientific American which convinced me to stop my subscription. Some statist fuck compared capitol cities in capitalist and communist countries. His piece de resistance was the two Koreas, illustrated with a picture of each’s shopping district — he hated the colorful ads in South Korea, reveled in the gray empty streets of North Korea, and then said that concentrating so many people in one city made sewage and pollution worse than the distributed economy of North Korea. He seemed to be completely oblivious to how much easier it is to get around a city without a car than in the country, or how much easier ti is to handle sewage when concentrated in a city.

    Completely clueless.

  21. My experience with organic produce is that it generally goes bad much faster. So you either waste more or you make the trek to the grocer more often…. which negates any environmental benefit from the organic growth process (if there is any to begin with).

    And as others have said, the “organic” label is silly. If a farmer takes care in raising his/her farm’s food, it shouldn’t matter whether it’s conventional or organic; indeed, some farmers may grow “organic” produce in all but the name (i.e., they do not want to pay for the certification).

    1. Organic farmers kill a shit-load of fish, helping to over-fish the oceans, for “organic” fertilizers… All ’cause artificially produced fartilizers have anti-Gaia cooties, you know…

      1. And the same organic fanbois will simultaneously bemoan over fishing. All the while completely oblivious of how stupid they are while convinced of their own moral and intellectual superiority because they “fucking love science.”

  22. Yeah but the same people calling for an end to “factory farming” are the same people who “fucking love science.”

    And “sustainable” has become one of those buzzwords that leftist fuckwits love to use to signal that they’re one of the goodthinkers, as opposed to one of those teabagging know nothings. Plus, it’s multi-syllabic! It must mean something cool and awesome with all those syllables!

  23. Improvements in agricultural technologies and production practices have significantly lowered the use of energy and water, and greenhouse-gas emissions of food production per unit of output over time.

    Yet the people who oppose them do so in the name of combating global warming.

    Next up, the modern environmental movement on nuclear power vs. biofuels!

    *sigh*

  24. “Considering, for example, that organic wheat yields are anywhere from 64 percent to just half of those produced by conventional farming, it’s a very interesting definition of “sustainable.”

    Producing double the amount of food encourages waste and gluttony. You have to take the human factor into account when thinking about sustainability. The numbers as presented are misleading.

    1. Producing double the amount of food encourages waste and gluttony. You have to take the human factor into account when thinking about sustainability.

      This ranks among the dumbest things you have ever come here to say.

      1. Ron hasn’t considered the moral hazard. Gluttony and waste come on the coat tails of massively increased production.

        1. “Moral hazard” – you use this term, but I do not think it means what you think it means.

          1. Possibly. I like the sound of it. I also like the sound of coat tails. Any complaints about coat tails?

    2. You have to take the human factor into account when thinking about sustainability. The numbers as presented are misleading.

      Organic wheat yields can only support 64 percent to just half of the humans supported by conventional farming assuming no intrinsic change in consumption or waste.

      Better?

      1. When it comes to food, how much is produced doesn’t matter. What matters is what is eaten. We are sustained by eating food, not producing it.

      2. By saying the numbers are misleading, they are acknowledging that there is so more more at play in production than just the end product numbers. What are the resources, land use, chemical use, etc. that is going into that production that have residual effects in the after math of large scale or factory farming. We have to think about our long term future and productivity. Yes, it sounds good now to have mass quantities of food to feed a growing population but that about years down the road when that same population doubles, we turn to the land to produce more and our resources, climate and land can no longer provide? Long term effects need to be addressed and we need to analyze the latent effects that are occurring, not just the food we see in front of us but what it took to produce that food.

  25. If first world Progressive Intellectuals want to buy and eat ‘organic’ this and ‘free range’ that and ‘ non-GMO’ the other then more power to them. It’s when they try to impose these decisions on others that makes me want to belabor them with a tire iron. Indeed, if the ‘World Court’ was worth the oil necessary to fry it in hell, the swine who are trying to block GMO Golden Rice would be on trial for crimes against humanity.

    1. ” the swine who are trying to block GMO Golden Rice would be on trial for crimes against humanity.”

      Asians don’t like yellow rice. They like white rice. If a preference for white rice is a crime against humanity, well I just don’t know. Once upon a time, Libertarians were all about letting the market decide.

      1. Libertarians were all about letting the market decide

        Which would involve opposing “the swine who are trying to block GMO Golden Rice.” If people don’t want to buy it, oh well – you can lead a horse to water and all.

        C’mon, True Man – you always have exceptionally stupid and dishonest things to say, but you usually at least try a little harder than this to achieve basic credibility.

        1. It certainly wasn’t demand in the market place that led to the creation of GMO rice. The government(s) has been funding research and development of the product from the get go. This industrial farming fits right in with a government agenda of concentration and centralization of power and resources. The weird thing is to see so many libertarians going along with it. The same people who embrace technologies like uber which challenge power and are radically decentralizing.

  26. Ron, about time you sang the praises of fish farming. For thousands of years humans fished in the most primitive ways imaginable. Now there are fish farms. How wonderful is that?

    1. Yes. It’s better than wild caught and cheaper too.

    2. For thousands of years there weren’t enough people with enough technology to really deplete fisheries. I’m not a fan of most environmentalism, cause I think much of it is stupid, but as far as I can tell we really are overfishing these days. I tend to think that we’re endlessly inventive animals, and that maybe if we want to eat a lot fish we ought to figure out how to do so without wrecking things.

  27. Cloak Herbicide is dispersible granules for selective burndown and residual weed control in soybeans. Metribuzin herbicide was once a major herbicide in soybean, but some soybean varieties are somewhat sensitive to metribuzin ? meaning you need to grow a tolerant variety if you plan to apply metribuzin Products. Check metribuzin herbicide label before use it.

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