Farming Demands Profit or it is Gardening

In General by Mark

“Agriculture is a business. Farming without a financial motive is gardening.”

So says Russ Parson in his recent LA Time article called the California Cook. This article may do the best job I have seen yet at tackling the tough and often controversial subject of how our food is produced and where it comes from.

Parson’s simple and direct logic is admirable. “Not only do farmers have expenses to meet just like any other business, but they also need to be rewarded when they do good work. Any plan that places further demands on farmers without an offsetting profit incentive is doomed to fail.”

You may not like all of the points made in his article, but there are some real gems that make it a worthy read.

“Over the last 50 years, American farmers performed an agricultural miracle, all but eliminating hunger as a serious health issue in this country. But that battle has been won, and though those gains must be maintained, the demands of today — developing a system that delivers flavor as well as quantity and does it in an environmentally friendly way — are different.”

Although he focuses on primarily fruits and vegetables, most of the discussion could relate to corn and soybeans.  Certain farming practices being called for by well fed, wealthy Americans would be ideal as far as they are workable. However, Parsons concedes we need to make that leap with the full knowledge that most of these demands take more time, labor and will result in reduced production. In summary….they have to cost a lot more.