Feature

Only industrial farms can feed the world

While organic farming sounds idyllic, in reality it is costly and labor-intensive, and cannot satisfy the needs of 7 billion people, said Blake Hurst in<strong> </strong><em>The American.</em>

Blake HurstThe American

Pity the poor family farmer, said Blake Hurst. Agricultural theorists have concluded that he is too “ignorant” to resist the evil forces of industrialization, subjecting his livestock to cruelty and his land to poisons in a soul-deadening pursuit of profit.

As someone who makes my living on a Missouri farm handed down by my grandfather, I can assure you that the “reality is messier” than it seems to the idealists who write books like Dominion and The Omnivore’s Dilemma. For example, some locales have outlawed confinement crates for hogs, so as to allow piglets to grow up around their mothers. That sounds nice, except that in real life, the massive mothers sometimes crush the piglets to death or eat them right after they’re born. “Farmers do not cage their hogs because of sadism, but because dead pigs are a drag on the profit margin.” Similarly, while purists rail against biotech, the combination of herbicides and genetically modified seed has made the food we produce cheaper, healthier, and more abundant, subjecting fewer people to hunger.

While organic farming sounds idyllic, in reality it is costly and labor-intensive, and cannot satisfy the needs of 7 billion people. “Everything I know and I have learned tells me this: We have to farm ‘industrially’ to feed the world.”

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