Baxter Black: England’s choice

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England has made a choice to remain dependent on other countries to feed them. Recently, corporations have proposed to build a modern dairy and sow unit in their countryside. Two activist groups objected saying it would force a significant number of small farmers out of business. The proposal was withdrawn.

We in the United States have faced that choice and decided to encourage modern agricultural practices, which has resulted in concentration of production and the elimination of most small farmers. Are we wrong or right to have chosen technology over the status quo?

England can no longer feed itself — 60 million people in a country the size of Mississippi with an average rainfall of approximately 25 inches. The government micro-manages agriculture. It leans against modern agricultural practices. Much of it is subsidized. Politics controls imports. As if England did not have enough problems, Prince Charles has taken it upon himself to tell us we should follow their model. He says we need a “new system of accounting for sustainability.” He points to Walmart’s backing of local sourcing of food and sustainable or organic produce as a reason to be hopeful that our industry if listening. He is joined by the animal rights/environmentalist activists denouncing America’s “mega farms” and accusing us of cruelty to animals and pollution.

By 2050, the world population will have increased 20 percent to 9.4 billion. If Prince Charles can convince us to limit our food production, and Canada, Australia and India follow suit, who will feed us? Argentina? Brazil? Russia? Maybe by then, Africa will have finally overcome itself and become self-supporting and change our import staples to taro root and bamboo shoots.

Here Chuck, let me put this paper bag over your head. What is wrong with this picture? You need to take a course in colonist common sense. Surely someone in your country must understand that a “new system of accounting for sustainability” has the profundity of “yearning for chickens that have no bones.” Charlie, the sheriff of Nottingham thought he could take all the peasant’s crops, tools and oxen away, and they would continue to farm. You point to Walmart as a good example. Walmart would not exist today if they restricted their sales to homegrown organic food. They have become the biggest corporation in the world by selling groceries, tires, meat, clothes, wine, pliers and guns manufactured by the cheapest bidder, whether it’s Chile, Hong Kong or Vino Fino.

What is amazing to me is that Prince Charles’ subjects seem to be blind or ignorant or complacent to the consequences of this royal balderdash. The Limeys have become Loonies. Family farms in the U.S. and Canada survive by using the same technology that is available to our mega-farms. Our small farmers are innovative, hard working and committed to making a profit.

When you turn your farmers back into peasants, you get the kind of agriculture you are promoting now. But when you give them the ability, incentive and freedom to produce the best that nature, sweat and technology allows, you get the American and Canadian horn of plenty. Call us when you’re hungry.

“I have watched this famous island descending incontinently, fecklessly, the stairway which leads to a dark gulf.” — Winston Churchill, “While England Slept”

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