Monday, April 12, 2010

In Defense of Farming

Embracing Technology . Feeding the World

FACT #1: Over 98% of all farms in America are family farms. Family farms can be large, small or somewhere in between. Each farmer today feeds 150 people versus only 9 in 1940.

FACT #2: Recent study published in the Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics indicates Pollan’s view of food production would cause need for an additional 214 million acres of farmland. That is an area twice the size of California.

FACT #3: Dr. Jude Capper of Washington State University has found eggs purchased from a farmers market leave a carbon footprint 4.5 larger than those purchased at a supermarket.

FACT #4: Adrian Williams, agricultural researcher at Cranfield University in England, says “food miles” is a foolish concept that is provincial, damaging and simplistic. “The idea that a product travels a certain distance and is, therefore, worse than one you raised nearby – well, it’s just idiotic.”

FACT #5: Americans spend less than 10% of their income on food. In European countries it is over 16%.

FACT #6: CAFOs have reduced stress levels in food animals. Modern barns on dairy farms have contributed greatly to cows increasing milk production by 2.7 times annually in the past 60 years.

FACT #7: Grass-based organic beef requires more than 5 acre days to produce a pound of beef. Less than 1.7 acre days are needed in a grain-fed feedlot system using growth-enhancing technology.

FACT #8: Farm subsidies cost each American citizen only $25/year. While air travel and energy subsidies cost $50 and $250 per year respectively. Taxpayer investment in food is minimal.

FACT #9: Cornell University has proven per gallon of milk produced farmers use 35% of the water and 10% of the land mass and omit 63% less carbon than they did in 1945.

FACT #10: The global population is expected to be 9 billion by 2050 and that will require a doubling of food production in the next years. That can only be done through technological advancements as we can’t make more land.

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