13 December 2009 - Never forget, No Farms, No Food

I have said many times that in agriculture we cannot afford to let emotion overrule science. Science must be the benchmark we use in determining how agriculture continues to feed a growing world population. I try to always use science in any of those debates or discussions.

But I admit it is difficult for me not to become emotional when I look at the headlines coming out of Copenhagen, Denmark at the conference of world leaders who are going to "solve the Climate Change Problem, regardless of how serious it might be or might not be". Headlines like this make me downright angry. "China Urges the U.S. to Increase its Copenhagen Offer", "China Demanded Deeper Carbon Cuts by the United States". Another headline "China slams rich nations for weak emissions goals".

In its statement China said the "United States set a goal that was not notable, the European Union's target was not high enough and Japan had set impossible pre-conditions". At the same time the Chinese delegate pointed out that the United States is the #2 emitter of green house gas into the atmosphere; while conveniently failing to mention that China, far and away, ranks #1 in greenhouse gas pollution. Add to this the argument from China, India and other countries who say they should get special dispensation in dealing with climate change because they are developing countries and my blood pressure goes even higher!

Here at home, there is a lot of disagreement. A few days ago I was in the office of former Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns, now the Jr. Senator from Nebraska, and the office of Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, former Governor of Iowa. Those two gentlemen are miles apart on proposed solutions contained in the climate change legislation being debated on Capitol Hill. Secretary Vilsack says it will add a new source of income for farmers and ranchers; Senator Johanns says it will sharply increase energy and other production costs for producers and export much of our food production overseas. He bases that concern on a recent U.S.D.A. report that says part of the solution is to take 60-million of our crop-land acres out of food production and plant trees on those acres to be used as a source of cellulosic energy.

I find that concept totally unacceptable; that we would sacrifice our farmers and ranchers and their ability to produce safe nutritious food for us and the world, and then depend on other countries to provide our food makes absolutely no sense to me. Haven't we learned anything from our dependence on other countries who provide us with oil? They hold us hostage now and it would be far worse if we depended on them for our food. It comes back to something a lot of us have been saying over the past several months... "No Farms, No Food". In light of the Climate Change debate, perhaps we should amend that to say " No U.S. farms, No Food for the World".

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.