The Omnivore’s Delusion: Against the Agri-intellectuals

That's the name of a new piece by Missouri farmer Blake Hurst in The American. As I mentioned, I haven't finished The Omnivore's Dilemma yet, but I still found this an interesting and well-written rebuttal, appealing on both logical and emotional dimensions. Here is a sample of the latter:
He was a businessman, and I’m sure spends his days with spreadsheets, projections, and marketing studies. He hasn’t used a slide rule in his career and wouldn’t make projections with tea leaves or soothsayers. He does not blame witchcraft for a bad quarter, or expect the factory that makes his product to use steam power instead of electricity, or horses and wagons to deliver his products instead of trucks and trains. But he expects me to farm like my grandfather, and not incidentally, I suppose, to live like him as well. He thinks farmers are too stupid to farm sustainably, too cruel to treat their animals well, and too careless to worry about their communities, their health, and their families. I would not presume to criticize his car, or the size of his house, or the way he runs his business. But he is an expert about me, on the strength of one book, and is sharing that expertise with captive audiences every time he gets the chance.
Well-versed in both the recent literature on the organic debate and the trials and tribulations of everyday farming, Hurst details a number of ways in which Pollan's "solutions" would be impractical or ineffective. He then closes with a reasonable appeal:
Farmers have reasons for their actions, and society should listen to them as we embark upon this reappraisal of our agricultural system. I use chemicals and diesel fuel to accomplish the tasks my grandfather used to do with sweat, and I use a computer instead of a lined notebook and a pencil, but I'm still farming the same land he did 80 years ago, and the fund of knowledge that our family has accumulated about our small part of Missouri is valuable. And everything I know and I have learned tells me this: we have to farm "industrially" to feed the world, and by using those "industrial" tools sensibly, we can accomplish that task and leave my grandchildren a prosperous and productive farm, while protecting the land, water, and air around us.
I wouldn't say Pollan has been refuted, but this is a high-quality contribution to the debate.

Via Chris Clayton.

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