Wednesday, July 7, 2010

What is Sustainable

Guest Blogger: Drew DeBerry, Deputy Commissioner of Agriculture

What level of food production and efficiency is necessary to truly sustain a world population that is expected to grow by three billion people by 2050? The answer depends on how you define "sustain."

A recent article from Go San Angelo reports growing numbers of anti-agriculture activists are quick to claim the word "sustainable" to exclusively define organic and small farming operations, but the reality is agriculture in ALL its forms, by definition, "sustains." Large farms actually sustain more people. As a matter of fact, only 10 percent of our nation's farms (with $250,000 or more in sales) are responsible for providing 85 percent of America's food and fiber supply. So let's not confuse buzzwords and definitions. To do so is to compare the proverbial apples to oranges.

While it's foolish to discredit small farms and the organic movement (in fact, they are deserving of much applause), it is equally unrealistic to think their methods and production outputs - however well intended - can wholly sustain the planet's impending population explosion.

To quote the article, “If we continue to allow propaganda to trump science, then the potential for global agriculture to be productive, diverse and sustainable will go unfulfilled. We will not be the ones to suffer the direct consequences, but rather the poorest and most vulnerable,”

Additionally, our farmers and ranchers are the true environmentalists. They know they have to protect their land and animals in order to have a productive operation. And for consumers, it's this simple - we all enjoy being sustained by an affordable, abundant and safe food supply.

Remember, political agendas can be argued and debated. World hunger, on the other hand, cannot.

1 comment:

Erica Irlbeck said...

Great post! Very well said.