In response to last week’s article “Modern Agriculture Feeds Billions in a Sustainable Manner”- I’m neither a farmer nor an agricultural expert, but I do participate in the modern food supply chain (as we all do). This article posted by the TX Farm Bureau coincides with the arrival in the mail of the TX Farm Bureau’s “Texas Neighbors” magazine. I have had satisfactory home and auto insurance for over 10 years from the TX Farm Bureau. But I have found myself in almost complete disagreement with the lobbying and political action aspects of this organization.
I have come to believe that when large corporations (and many politicians) stress their central messages, the exact opposite is more likely to be true. The apologists for GMO crops and the sustainability of modern industrialized food production have an uphill battle. These organizations have restricted labeling GMO ingredients in consumer products. The only certainty with GMO crops is that long-term health and environmental consequences are unknown. Shouldn’t we be able to know and choose with honest labeling the food products we eat? Shouldn’t farmers be able to choose to plant non-GMO crops?
A disturbingly large percentage of our food is controlled by Monsanto, Cargill, and a small handful of other multi-national corporations. Does the TX Farm Bureau lend more support to these corporations than the remaining independent family-owned farms? Federal policies written under the direction of these interests have advanced an alarming level of obesity and diabetes, linked to artificially cheap corn and derivatives. Another monopoly brought to us by effective corporate installation of members of Congress and lobbying.
I see no evidence that modern agriculture is sustainable in the least. Like everything else, it is dependent on cheap and non-renewable petroleum products. How about those Panhandle cotton farmers relying on non-recharging aquifers 1/2 mile deep? Remember the Irish potato famine of the 1840s that brought so many of our ancestors to Texas? Our culture is more brittle and fragile than it was 100 years ago, due in part to monoculture of genetically identical crops.
I don’t believe issues of water use, public health, energy use, and sustainable health of the soil can be separated from how we raise the food upon which our survival depends. My favorite bumper sticker: “If you’re not appalled by now, you haven’t been paying attention.”
I have come to realize that our most effective expression of Democracy is how we spend our money. Every dollar equals one vote. I realize I need to locate a different insurance company. One that does not engage in political activism with which I disagree. Sorry Monica!