Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Update on a few items .... In my August 4th post (should food be cheap?) I asked the question:
Let's put it this way, if man used to spend most of his waking hours securing food through labor, should he now do the same through his paycheck?

Time Magazine this week (not my usual reading fare) has a cover article entitled "The Real Cost of Cheap Food". Here's a couple stats from the article:

Since 1935, consolidation and industrialization have seen the number of US farms decline from 6.8 million to fewer than 2 million-with the average farmer now feeding 129 Americans, compared with 19 people in 1940.

Food production was very local-subsistence farming with a little surplus for some cash. And

According to the USDA, Americans spend less than 10% of their income on food, down from 18% in 1966.

The article goes on to dispute whether this cheap food-when considering the subsidies, routine antibiotic use, environmental hazards, and health hazards (due both to antibiotic use and corn as a mainstay of feed)-is really all that cheaper.

We use more grain and corn on our livestock than I would like to, but as we develop our land, our goal is to use less and less grain and feed more and more greens (perhaps pasture if we ever can obtain more land). We don't use antibiotics as a regular course, but I am not opposed to antibiotics for a sick animal.

This year for instance, our meat birds ate mostly from our grass, supplemented by feed. Our hogs get milk, eggs, and some of the garden yield (more in the fall and winter as our greens grow very well during the cooler and rainier months), and this year will also get some of our peanut crop.

More later .... Oremus pro invicem!

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