Seems like there was a post here just awhile back on a study done which showed big farms (and they weren't talking about organic) just weren't able to make it as well as smaller farms, and IIRC, it was around the 200 acre point where things started going down. So sell some land, buy some cows and pigs and chickens and diversify, get rid of the chemicals and giant (ultra-expensive) machinery. You'll make just as much money, live longer, and be happier. Don't sell the corn, feed it to the pigs, or make ethanol, or -- whatever. It's a ridiculous idea to farm corn when corn is the cheapest heating fuel on the market. Sorry, George, I just don't have much sympathy for the American farmer, for the most part. I think if we can get the gov't to stop all the crop subsidies and other forms of corporate welfare, the organic/chemical arguement would end pretty quickly. Farmers have been conned, swindled, bamboozled, by the banks, the chemical companies, ag agents, and ag schools (who all work for chemical companies essentially). Hey, I saw the same thing happening in the logging industry -- guys got conned into buying all that new fancy equipment then lost their shirt when NAFTA came along. The banker tried to talk me into it -- I didn't even ask for a loan, he approached me. I just kept logging with my old crawler, and when the crunch came I just sold it all and went back to school. I really like the way the Amish do it -- no debt. And they definitely do make money, pay cash for their farms.
On Thu, Feb 28, 2002 at 04:50:56PM -0600, George & Lola Wesel wrote: > I would say that is a very fair question. If it was possible I would. > > I know several organic farmer and they don't laugh all the way to the > bank. That is just an image they would like everybody to believe. In > order to reach the production goals required by today financial needs, > organic don't cut it. Not even close. Zero Input Sustainable > Agriculture (name used by the US government) is just a dream of the > extreme left wing enviromentalist. Looks good, sounds good but not > feastable. You need to draw a clear line between those that do organic > farming with an acre or so and those who farm on the x,000 acres plus. > To grow a couple of hundred corn plants on 1/2 acre and then petal the > roasting ears to people who you meet on the street is probably very > profitable but your going to need a job on the side. With a 27,000 > population per acre and 1000 acres of corn that's 27,000,000 roasting > ears. This is but one big problem. The places that broker organic food > are not capable of handling large volume. The market just isn't their yet. > > Do you have a clue how much manure it takes to equal 250 pounds of NH3. > The average amount of nirtrogen put on an acre of irrigated corn here in > KS. Or how many cows it would take to produce enough manure to fertilize > 1000 acres of irrigated corn. The reason I say irrigated is that dryland > corn here in KS is a "iffy" crop at best. This doesn't even touch on the > labor required to load, haul, and spread the manure or the costs > involved. To use manure would not only be labor intensely, but terribly > costly as well. I would lose my butt big time to use all manure. They > say rotate your crops. Yes, alfalfa does put a little nitrogen into the > soil. But not nearly enough to grow 200 bu per acre corn. I do rotate > my crops, especially my dryland crops but I do rotate my irrigated as > well. To keep the chemical costs to a minmium. On a very small farm, an > acre or so, organic is the only way to go. Their are organic farms up > to 100 acres or so. But their not profitable, just diehard, stubborn > "Gonna do it organic" types. They would do it even if they were > starving. If I can't produce in the 175 and up range then I won't be > here next year. Someone else will be farming my farm and he won't be > organic. > > For chemicals their is no organic replacement. They simplely let the > bugs chow down. Diease is uncontrollable except by rotation. In bad > years like we had last year they don't raise a crop. If organic was > suddenly required by all governments in this world. No one would be > able to buy enough food to live on. It would simpley be a severe food > shortage. As long as organic has conventional farmer to produce for the > masses then they can produce for the few (and growing) who buy organic > only. If everybody tried to buy organic only, their would be one hell of > a long line everywhere they sell food. > > The simple fact is, organic is not ready to replace conventional > farming. Except on a small and local scale. > > One last comparision. I'm sure you don't like to buy gasoline for your > car or truck, whatever. I'm sure you don't like to buy tires, oil, and > repairs or that you don't like the idea of being a part of the pollution > that is generated in the world every day. So why don't you walk to work > everyday. I'm sure their is people out their who do, but is it > feastable for everybody to walk. Cut down on the gas comsumption of the > world, cut down on air pollution and get a lot of good exercise in > addition but it's just not workable for the vast majority. So it is with > American agriculture. Organic farming cannot feed the world. For me to > switch would create such a severe income loss that it is not even a > remote option. Conventional ag needs the ag chemicals to produce the > crop big enough to pay the bills by as few people (per farm) as possible > > To close, I'm sure their are places in the world where organic farming > on a larger scale than I am portraying here is possible, but they are > labor intensive. They just are not possible on a large scale and today's > agriculture is growing larger and larger on that scale. It has to, our > fixed costs go up every year and the only way to cope is to get bigger. > It is a vicious circle. Remember that question about "How many cows > would it take to fertilize 1000 acres of corn" How many ton of poop can > you scope in a day? While your scoping poop, who's going to be pinching > bugs? > > I hope I didn't bore you > George > > > > > > So why don't you? There's plenty of totally organic farmers who are > > laughing all the way to the bank. 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