Once again I find myself having virtually ignored this blog for way to long. Once again it is not because of lack of things that are agricultural in nature. Reality is, I have just been short on time for most of the last little bit and when that has not been the case, I have just been lazy. Regardless, more than a few things that I have noted about that I felt I should bring up here on the farm site. So, as I did once before not so long ago, an entry about several different things in brief. I have not completely decided, but I may even make this a somewhat regular feature. Anyway, on to those things that I feel the need to get off of my chest and share with you all.
- Republicans and agriculture subsidies – With all the recent drama (especially last month) over the debt ceiling and the culture that seems to be at the top of the heap on the right side of the aisle that says we have to cut big government and be the tightest of tightwads, I am still shocked that the various farm programs have not come under greater scrutiny. You can call them what you will, especially since they have several different programs that range for cyclical payouts, low or zero cost loans, to price support programs. If we were talking about money for Medicare, Medicaid, jobless programs, or even social security and the Republicans were the ones talking, these would be called entitlements. Of course the very word entitlement depends on who is getting the money. Oddly, most farmers, especially those in big business farmer operations tend to vote Republican, and so to my knowledge, one of the more obvious cuts has not even been brought to the table in this era of government cutting. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying other things shouldn’t be trimmed back as well, but I am just aghast that this one is not being considered.
- Chipolte and local produce – This one is a couple of months worth of old news, but well worth repeating again. For those not in the know, Chipolte is a quaint little Tex-Mex kind of place with a cafeteria style service – you chose what you want as you go through the line for your burritos, bowl, or salad (you can not go wrong with the lime/cilantro flavored rice and pork that slow cooked, spiced perfectly, and tender as can be). Anyway, fresh is a big part of their taste – especially in the salsa and toppings. They are pledging to double the amount of local produce they are using. Big deal right? Well, yeah, since they are hitting nearly five millions pounds of it now. The obvious advantages of less cost for shipping and the additional support they get from the local communities are enhanced by the quality and clearly better tasting ingredients that are being acquired this way. My hats off to them and the hope that many other national and regional chains will take note and follow with similar options in the near future.
- Michael Spectre and GMO food – Okay, I admit I am a little bit of the doubter about the benefits and lack of harm that could come from genetically modified food stuffs that Spectre’s recent book, ‘Denialism‘ seems to be aimed toward. Two reasons I will say this, though I admit I do need to read his book. 1) I am still not convinced of the science. After all it was science that thought introduction of species such as Asian Carp to help with catfish farm ponds was a good idea and now it is such a huge invasive and harmful species. No, I am not disagreeing with the safety of eating the food that is GMO, but of the inability to put the genie back in the bottle if something does turn out wrong that science missed. And this of course does not mention the slow eradication of genetic diversity in the wild – something sorely needed. And of course I strong disagree with the tactics of some large seed companies that have GMO crops out there blocking the natural crossing that seems to occur. I could clearly go on for a while on this point, but I think my mind is well-known on the issues. 2) Instead of going after the relatively smaller group that are against things like GMO food and whose primary argument is the politics of how it is coming about and questioning about the completeness of the scientific testing rather that flat-out denial why not those who deny global climate change is actually occurring? I mean, scientifically this is one that is much more of an issue for us as a human species going forward in almost every scientist’s opinion and yet he leaves it untouched. And amazingly roughly half the population does NOT believe it even occurring, despite clear scientific evidence and the obvious more extreme weather patterns.