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Gene Logsdon: Is Farming Supposed to Make Money?

Gene Logsdon farms in Upper Sandusky, Ohio, and is one of the clearest and most original voices of rural America. In fact, Wendell Berry calls him “the most experienced and best observer of agriculture we have.” And according to Logsdon, it just may be that farming isn’t supposed to be about money.

From his blog, The Contrary Farmer:

Talk about heresy. What if food production should not be part of either a capitalistic or a socialistic economy. The first commandment of agriculture states that you must put back into the soil the fertility you take out of it. That being so, the only real profit from food production is how good the food  tastes and how well it sustains health and well-being. Any actual money profit beyond that might simply be a sign that the farming is flawed. Failed civilization on top of failed civilization suggests that idea, but every new civilization that flourishes for awhile believes it can beat the system.

Farming has to be subsidized in modern economies because nature  can’t compete with money interest. An ear of corn, even the record-shattering 15-inch ear I found in my field yesterday,  has never heard of six percent interest. An ear of corn grows at its own sweet pace, come recession or inflation, which is the modern version of hell or high water. Every attempt to make it grow at a pace that matches the way we can manipulate paper money growth, results in some downside. (Eventually it happens with money too.) GMO scientists crow about their new seeds but there is little significant increase in yield from them, in fact in some cases, documented decreases. When an increase does occur it usually comes from lack of weed competition not an actual genetic increase in yield. Most above average increases in crop yields  come from  good weather. Monsanto and Dupont are trying to take the credit for the big corn crop this year when their very same seeds that produce a good crop on one farm result in only half a crop  two miles down the road where timely rains did not fall.

Read the entire article here.


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