April 23rd, 2008

mousie owned!

Agriculture: Food and Fuel Overview

I promised jesus_h_biscuit I would try to contribute something on agriculture to this forum, and just by grand coincidence, it happens to be the day after Earth Day.

Here is my disclaimer: I have mild insight into the field of agriculture, mostly into field crops. I am a journalist who spends a great deal of my time writing about the issue and I have for several years, though it is certainly not my only “beat” nor am I a farmer or commodities expert. I am socially liberal, more fiscally conservative, and my views of global warming are slightly different than what is being pushed as popular these days (and do involve agriculture in a very small way). I will try to present a colloquial quick-and-dirty of some agricultural issues facing us right now as a nation and world, in as objective a manner as I can, just from my observations.

I would not suggest you take any of this for the gospel truth, since I am not providing you my professional information. In fact, I would not suggest you take the gospel truth from any source if you cannot identify its financial and political interest. All this is intended to do is get you interested enough to look up stuff on your own with official and educated sources. Be careful of what sources you trust, especially online – even me – and what news outlets you choose to believe. While some of my information (numbers) comes from the USDA, I keep in mind at all times that such agencies do have politically-appointed directors.

Finally, if you really want to know more about agriculture – ask a farmer, for God’s sake, or call your county extension office (usually affiliated with a university) or Farm Service Agency office (a branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, or USDA). The hundreds of people I’ve dealt with in this part of my career have always been friendly because I treat them like the experts they are, and because I freely confess that I don’t know much about farming.

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