That’s an understatement. Defending glyphosate: A ‘Roundup’ of German agribusiness sentiments.
I always say that people who’ve never seen a combine harvester in real life, have no idea of the scale of modern agriculture, and no appreciation for the history of what life was like before it was mechanized, and chemistry was applied‡ can solve all the problems with modern agriculture while drinking their soy-latte.
Now I’m not an apologist for Monsanto, but you can’t just drop the use of Roundup and expect that nothing else will change. The linked article talks in part about the raising of sugar beets in Germany, and the use of glyphosate.
Critics of the herbicide in Brandenburg are quick to demand that weeds be removed mechanically, but Peters says they usually fail to mention the downsides of such an approach.
“Yes, another cultivation strategy would indeed be to remove the weeds mechanically with tractor-driven plows,” Peters admits. “But that would cost a lot more energy and increase the use of diesel enormously and our CO2 emissions respectively. Food products would become more expensive,” he notes. “And using plows extensively would harm our fields as it would worsen our already existing wind erosion problems.”
So does the Left want to reduce the use of diesel? Of course they are going to try and mandate the elimination of diesel as well. I hope everyone reading this is prepared to grow all of your own food if they do. Again, they’ve never seen a combine harvester, or a full size Deere tractor, or any other bit of Ag machinery up close.
- In 1790 farmers made up about 90% of the population. Agriculture was labor intensive.
- In 1860 farmers made up 58% the working population. Several machines – McCormick’s Reaper in particular – had been introduced.
- In 1900 farmers made up 38% of the labor force.
- 1930: Farmers made up 21% of labor force. After the Dust Bowl, better conservation methods were introduced. (see quote above re: wind erosion.) Also the tractor (as we know it) came into widespread use in the 1930s.
- In 1950 Farmers made up 12.2% of the labor force. The 1950s saw chemical revolution. Fertilizers had been available since before the Civil War, but now became cheap. Also herbicides and pesticides came into use.
- 1980: Farmers made up 3.4% of labor force
There are more statistics, about hours of labor for 100 bushels of wheat, etc. over the years at that link.
So how far back to you want to turn the clock?