While family farmers toil to bring in crops this fall an interesting thing is happening; folks in the organic and alternative Ag community have chosen to use the lousy harvest conditions as their latest reason to do away with our modern commodity-based food system.
“To my eyes, the disaster unfolding in the Corn Belt is further evidence of a dangerous lack of resiliency. To run properly, our current agricultural system relies on a precise set of conditions: cheap fuel, ample water, stable climate; tweak one of those conditions and the system derails,” says one blogger.
The blogger is partially right. Farmers are indeed much happier when fuel prices, markets and Mother Nature play along. Working normal hours under comfortable conditions and for a fair wage are goals we all aspire to, but to characterize farmers as a bunch of quitters or suggest we change the way we farm because of a little adversity is just plain silly.
Harvesting this year has been a major inconvenience for farmers but they are making rapid progress despite the dismal conditions. What we are dealing with is the wettest harvest weather in 40 years. This is an anomaly and no reason to walk away from a food production system that is the envy of the world.
When the dust settles we will be looking at one of the largest crops of all time despite the challenges. There will be some crop condition issues to manage in storage and drying costs will be higher, but we will have plenty of corn to supply the U.S. and much of the world once again. Rain may be falling but the sky isn’t!
If you want to see resilient, just drive outside the city limits and see the extraordinary steps being taken and hours being worked by growers to fill their bins and your pantry. With harvest behind us these same growers will be telling their children and grandchildren about the tough harvest of 2009 and how they rolled their sleeves up and got the job done.