Agriculture has been practiced for THOUSANDS of years on Earth, but only in the last century or so has it been industrialized oh-so-much (especially in the United States). Agricultural policies (which basically means the stuff the big guys regulate about agriculture) in the 1970’s set the stage for the present when they stared encouraging the overproduction of commodities, especially corn and soy. Producers became more and more reliant on government subsidies as spending money . Basically, the policies made it hard for producers to actually make a profit selling what they grew because the government had set prices so low.
Enter the FARMER’S PARADOX: How could these guys (and gals) keep growing crops subsidized by the government, increasing yields required with each passing farm bill?! Under current legislation, raw output is super-duper subsidized and unsustainable practice use does not receive nearly the same benefit. See an issue?
→THE GIST: In the United States, agricultural subsidies and policies encourage unsustainable crop production including overproduction and chemical fertilizer use. The overarching problem is exemplified in corn crop production in Iowa and its impact on the water quality of the Mississippi Water Basin.
A widespread result is concern involving the absence of adequate legislation protecting long term environmental quality and health impacts on people!
-Advocate for the protection of people and the planet
-Generally more economically motivated
-Cite that human innovation will surely solve the problems of humanity
It’s important to note that Environmentalism/Cornocopian-ism exists on a huge scale, and for most it’s hard to define clearly as either one or the other in all actions and thoughts). Niches certainly exist among them, as you’ll soon see, but they certainly all have vested interest in Iowa’s cornfields.
I hope you enjoyed Part ONE of the Sustainable Agriculture: Kernels of Truth Series! Until next time, you can check out How SDSU is “Campus Growing” Their Own Veggies, and Healthy Diets and Sustainability!