Excellent article on Food Supply

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Brian Davey has just released this paper on Y2k and the Food Supply: http://www.cairns.net.au/~sharefin/Markets/Y2k/FoodSupply.htm

Brian has some excellent articles linked in at the top of this page: http://www.cairns.net.au/~sharefin/Markets/Y2k21.htm

There are over 3,500 links to information regarding alternative self-sufficiency here: http://www.cairns.net.au/~sharefin/Markets/Alternative.htm

-- Nick Laird (sharefin@cairns.net.au), April 10, 1999


Food Supply

-- rb (x@y.now), April 11, 1999.

The article is a good one. I have been collecting links to ag and rural issues related to the US on our work website at http://www.snowcrest.net/siskfarm/millenm.html BTW, Secretary Glickman stated that 40% of US fruits and veggies are now imported (not to mention a good percentage of beef and flour.)

I disagree with the assumption that livestock reductions will result in edible domestic grains and row crops. Much of the livestock (at least in the West) forage on arid rangeland (non-irrigated.) The soil would most likely not be suitable for grains and veggies and success of alternative crops would be dependent upon climate (temperature, precipitation, elevation.) I know our growing season here is so short, we can't grow but a handfull of veggies. I am concerned, with the assumption that farmers are not high tech. (Read Senate hearing testimony of Arizona farmer Ken Evans on our website) (Ranchers are another issue.) In California, farmers use GPS to assess water, nutrient and other needs. Irrigation, pump and climate modification systems can be quite sophisticated with a myriad of embedded systems, as can other equipment (harvesters, etc.) Even my small hay farmers use computerized pivot lines. The embedded chip issue could hit hard.

I am also concerned about the possible interruption of power and fuel. Livestock and crops die without water. Dairy cows would be in agony without milking and most operations are too large to go to hand milking. Diesel and electrical pumps require a continuous supply or they are inoperable. A week without water in summer could be devastating. Our crops are perennial (7 years for alfalfa 20 for pasture.) Shortages could have long-term effects.

Also, no one has examined the environmental restrictions that small operators labor under and the shortage of water in places like the west. Regulations would be just as applicable to family's that try to grow their own and it is nigh impossible to acquire a water use right in much of the arid west. The legal restrictions are also an issue. In the United States as far back as the 1920s, it was ruled that the federal government could control the production of people who grew wheat for family consumption under the Commerce Clause on the theory that it affected the supply and demand balance upon which Farm programs are based.

There is more to this than meets the eye. Farmers today are not ole Clem in the bib overalls of yesteryear.

-- marsh (armstrng@sisqtel.net), April 11, 1999.

Thanks so much for the link to the excellent article. The following sentence may prove true. "People might be terribly unhappy eating a different king of bread, less procesed and prepared foods ready for the microwave and no meat." We already eat this way so no problem. But I would surely miss bananas, citrus and all the other fresh fruits not grown in our state or country.

-- gilda jessie (jess@listbot.com), April 11, 1999.

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