Readers React: Sustainability Standards Still Necessary

Leonardo Academy isn’t the only entity to respond to ag’s withdrawal en masse from the Sustainable Agriculture Standards Committee. A few Greenhouse Grower readers reacted with comments online at GreenhouseGrower.com.

Greenhouse Grower edited the comments for clarity. Here is a sample:

–Posted by Scientific Certification Systems: “It is disappointing to see the formal withdrawal of agricultural representatives from the ANSI sustainable agriculture standards process. As global population continues to grow, the need for a sustainable agricultural standard remains urgent. The VeriFlora standard is independent from this process and stands as an example that an inclusive standard is attainable.”

–Posted by KMW: “Here is to hoping big ag does not forget to include small ag, or it will be no better than the reason for them leaving this process. I am talking the 5- to 50-acre small farms, not the delusional set point for the industry that thinks small farmers are [25,000 acres or less].”

–Posted by MRW: “Work on sustainability will continue, but hopefully it will be a process designed by farmers to work for farmers instead of the contrary. Yes, world population is growing. If we are going to feed them, we will have to increase food production. We have to do this while reducing inputs like water, fossil fuels and land.

“If we don’t want to feed them, well, there isn’t much of an issue. We could cut back on production, increase food prices and let nature sort things out. I don’t even want to imagine the far-reaching social implications of this. Care to revisit the food riots of 2007?

“There are two lines of thinking when it comes to sustainability: Those who think nature can provide sufficient food if only we reverted to natural cycles of nutrient management and pest prevention. Good luck. The other believes maximizing production while mitigating external impacts will allow more food to be produced on less land.

“Agriculture is not natural; it is an invention by man that is in constant conflict with nature. If we want to produce sufficient food, this is a reality we must accept. Maximizing production per unit of land while seeking to limit inputs with external consequences is the only way we can maintain the stability of the system.”

Want to read Leonardo Academy President Michael Arny’s reaction to ag’s withdrawal en masses? Click here.

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4 comments on “Readers React: Sustainability Standards Still Necessary

  1. Anonymous

    The absoulute fastest way to improve sustainability for farmers is for the Department of Agriculuture to change their Agricultural policy! I AM an Ag major and when I graduated from college with my Ag degree I farmed 1000 acres for 5 years after graduation. When I first started it was common practice to raise your own forage and grain and farmers used livestock to raise the value of the finished product being sold. Then came the Nixon administration. An during that time there were some minor food shortages that caused consumer food prices to skyrocket. Voters were unhappy and then President Nixon had his Secretary of Agriculture…Earl Butz draft what is essentually the framework of our Ag policy today. Now the forage is rasied by one farmer the livestock is raised by another, the grain is rasied by another and the livestock is Finished fed by another Farmer. Truckers make a good living hauling all of this stuff around. Probably 85% or more of the total hog production now in the US is done by 55 farmers. My Great Uncle (who owns 3,000+ acres of prime farmland out in southern Ill. quit farming last year because they could not maintain the same standard of living that they had on the same farm over the last 40 years. In order to make it they would have to double their farming operation. This is what is wrong with Agriculture. In my first five years out of the gate I had 2 seasons where my corn crop was knee high in October (from drought) and the last year, the year I threw in the towel was the year that our Brillant President then Jimmy Carter got the bright idea to use our exports as a weapon against the Russians and ruined our Export Grain market. I knew then that between the weather and the Government there was no future in farming! And to this day it is still true!

  2. Anonymous

    We are still defining what sustainability is. It is not the time to create an ANSI standard. Let the free market work through this issue before we waste time on a standard.

  3. Anonymous

    The absoulute fastest way to improve sustainability for farmers is for the Department of Agriculuture to change their Agricultural policy! I AM an Ag major and when I graduated from college with my Ag degree I farmed 1000 acres for 5 years after graduation. When I first started it was common practice to raise your own forage and grain and farmers used livestock to raise the value of the finished product being sold. Then came the Nixon administration. An during that time there were some minor food shortages that caused consumer food prices to skyrocket. Voters were unhappy and then President Nixon had his Secretary of Agriculture…Earl Butz draft what is essentually the framework of our Ag policy today. Now the forage is rasied by one farmer the livestock is raised by another, the grain is rasied by another and the livestock is Finished fed by another Farmer. Truckers make a good living hauling all of this stuff around. Probably 85% or more of the total hog production now in the US is done by 55 farmers. My Great Uncle (who owns 3,000+ acres of prime farmland out in southern Ill. quit farming last year because they could not maintain the same standard of living that they had on the same farm over the last 40 years. In order to make it they would have to double their farming operation. This is what is wrong with Agriculture. In my first five years out of the gate I had 2 seasons where my corn crop was knee high in October (from drought) and the last year, the year I threw in the towel was the year that our Brillant President then Jimmy Carter got the bright idea to use our exports as a weapon against the Russians and ruined our Export Grain market. I knew then that between the weather and the Government there was no future in farming! And to this day it is still true!

  4. Anonymous

    We are still defining what sustainability is. It is not the time to create an ANSI standard. Let the free market work through this issue before we waste time on a standard.