I recently ran across the book Omnivore’s Dilemma, by Michael Pollan.

I was at a meeting so I only had time to read a couple chapters, but the one on “Industrial corn” had a profound effect on me. I have ordered a copy, and yet it already leads me to post.

Pollan cited an old quote that goes something like this. “there’s money to be made in food, but not if you are a grower.” He then goes on describe how corn by the billions of tons grown with huge inputs of petroleum have transformed the farm and farmer (much for the worse), led to huge contained animal feeding operations, and transformed the food we eat.

Industrial corn in particular lies behind the fast food industry and the plague of obesity.

It occurs to me that livestock growers could make a much better case if they raised their livestock on grass, didn’t sent them for finishing on corn and without the chemicals. A market would have to be created.

Of course, we all know about organic food. Grass fed organic beef is a great selling point if you can buy it. I should note that Pollan has some harsh words for big organic ag, and it is clear that agri-business is trying to subvert the organic grower so that the consumer has no real choice.

For reference here is a link to Amazon.com, which, of course, includes reviews of the book.

Now for Laird and others, is this a worthwhile thread? 

 
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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

2 Responses to Farmers/ranchers and the blight of industrial corn

  1. avatar be says:

    None of it is “natural” either. The pollen moves so far that genetically altered varieties cross-pollinate and to a large to degree have wiped out the species natural “identity”. High fructose corn syrup is cheap (thanks to the mega-corporate ag congressional-industrial complex), so it replaces glucose derived from other sources – look at a can of soda. The HCFS is metabolized differently than refined sugar and perpetuates a number of health problems. It doesn’t make you feel “full”, it stymies the production of insulin (diabetes), and so much more.
    That’s not even going in to the issues of the depletion of biomass from our soils with corn production that will one day hit us hard. More and more our ag lands are changing into giant hydroponic mediums, all of the nutrients being sucked out and chemically introduced lacking trace nutrients and minerals that are afforded by a sustainably tended soil. Those trace minerals are necessary for so many metabolic processes, and what we could once get in a single serving (the daily requirement), now our stomach volume is not adequate to hold enough of the produce to get that same required level.

    Happy thoughts…

  2. avatar Alan Gregory says:

    HFCS is a staple in grocery store processed food. Try to find a loaf of commercially-produced (baked?) bread that doesn’t list this ingredient and a whole lot more.
    Then consider the USDA subsidies that are literally thrown at corporate farmers.

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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