Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Organic Gardening meets Industrial Farming

I almost forgot to post about this.  This weekend we went to my in-laws for the long weekend.  My father-in-law is a farmer, of the industrial type.  He has farmed and worked in a factory since graduating from high school (which was pushing 40 years ago).  I have a lot of respect for him, despite the fact our agricultural views are often opposing.  It is interesting knowing someone who is so involved in the industrial farming system.  For many farmers, like my father-in-law, it is the only thing they know; the only thing anyone they know knows.  To him, the idea of "Round-Up Ready" beans is simply a way to get more yield and therefore more income.  "An Omnivore's Dilemma" had an interesting section on how backwards the economics of industrial farming are... prices drop, so the only thing farmers can do is produce more, which simply drives prices down more, etc.  The system is so messed up, and the farmers know it too, but are pretty much helpless to do anything about it. 

He farms about 500 acres or less, his neighbors farm almost 2,000 - hence the reason he also works in the factory and they don't. My maternal grandfather was also a farmer, and he farmed 240 acres, and supported his family on it.  That is completely laughable in industrial farming in this day in age, even with the fact that my grandfather owned the land.

Kate loves riding the little yard tractor with Grandpa when we visit, and since he was still planting this weekend due to all the rain earlier in the month, she actually got to go in the big field tractor with him.  They were both in heaven.  It is really hard to tell who was more excited about it, Kate or Grandpa!  He loves it that Kate thinks it is fun to do farming things with him.

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