The Future of Agriculture and the Importance of Developing Our Skills and Knowledge Base

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http://www.newsinferno.com
BTW.......great news site.....
Danke Charlie
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Charlie wrote in

being a typical lazy American, i'm training an ox team. those hand plows are too much work ;) for anyone contemplating a small homestead, look at Irish Dexter cattle. meat, milk *and* draft, in a small package (around 300 pounds). nice temperment, & easy keepers too.
lee
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Fine, but what about lattι?
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i'm looking into a greenhouse so i can grow coffee... gotta have that to make lattι. i think i'll need to grow cocoa too. so if i put a 2nd greenhouse out in Savannah (NY), can you keep an eye on the coffee there? ;) seriously though, i'm not a huge fan of straight roasted chicory. what other locally growable coffee substitutes are there? we've got brewing beer & cider down, but i'll need more flatish land to grow grain. the hops grow like crazy here, plus we have several non-hop plants for preserving beers (creeping charlie, for example). there's a dammed pond on our property that is rumored in the town history to be the first local grain mill. the flow is restricted currently by a Fish & Game dam upstream, but that is currently failing... lee
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Is the dam on anyone's list for removal? There's been a movement afoot for a while to eliminate dams whose purpose has evaporated over the years.
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mine? no, because the state doesn't know it exists (and i'm not going to press the issue so that they find out). the F&G dam was not in good shape before the flooding this past spring, & that certainly didn't improve anything. i will see F&G tomorrow and ask about that dam. it really doesn't serve much purpose, except to slightly (about 2') artificially raise the water level in a spring fed pond. i suspect the reason F&G has control over that dam & section of stream is more for access to the pond for stocking efforts. of course, if they don't do some work on it, i strongly suspect the road is going to go away in the next flood... the under road culvert can't take that much water going through. we had 8" over the road, along with the culvert's load. it washed a cement block i left on my dam over 300 feet downstream... there was too much water coming in for me to get the drain at the bottom of the dam open, but i suspect that's a good thing really. there was no damage to my dam at all (it's earth & rock, at least 200 years old). lee
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<Charlie> wrote in message

Yep, which will further compound the effects of global warming and the extremes of weather events we are being warned about.
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On Tue, 25 Sep 2007 01:02:43 -0700, "Ted Mittelstaedt"

Actually, we cannot. Grain is a currency in the global economy.

Given your scenario, I think you will be amazed at how expensive your food will become. Oil is inextricably tied to your food cost.
To say that people will move closer to their jobs ignores the fundamental reason that they moved to a suburb/exburb to begin with; that being they could not afford to live in the urban area. Prices are not likely to fall when demand increases for "closer" real estate.
Labor costs are not likely to fall given higher real estate, food, and transportation costs of the labor force. That was what drove those jobs to cheaper labor in the first place. It is impossible for transport costs to "eclipse" the cost of labor on a net unit basis given the many countries that would love to be an exploited workforce. It will still be more profitable to import products from low wage producers than it will be to export products from high wage producers. IOW, it makes no sense to pay American wages and attempt to compete globally. That's not going to change.
Unless of course you are suggesting that Americans will soon be living as third world populations live now. That's a possibility.

No they won't. First of all, as transport costs increase we are not going to produce heavier items to transport. Second, glass, wood, paper, and metal need oil from the mining through the manufacturing processes so their prices will skyrocket. Plastic can, and will be, produced from synthetic oil as much of it is now. Corn starch products have begun to replace many wood and paper products. You had better pray that low-low-low priced throwaway products, like half the junk Wally World carries is still around. You are going to pay more, receive lower quality, and make less.

I don't mean to sound smartassed, but you really need to get a better understanding of how your food and product chain works now, and how it worked "then". There are no skilled artisans waiting for the collapse of oil to turn out goods in towns across America. Ask the kid at McDonald's to make a wooden bowl for you. Remember, in the good old days labor was a lower percentage of cost than materials were. Still can't wait to go back to goods and products that were everyday then?

What other country is as dependent upon cheaply transported mass produced clothing, shelter, food, and consumables as we are?

No Ted, the population of the U.S. wants the borders sealed so we don't have to compete with an immigrant workforce that is not as spoiled, naive, or lazy as we are. Increased immigrant populations have historically kept prices low. For example, how much do you want to be paid an hour to pick lettuce?
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Maybe enough to feed and cloth your family?
Factory jobs are gone.
You don't need a truck to deliver information.
Obviously, as a society we need to put our money into education (value added) but the oligarchs of our kleptocracy are bent on more money and more power for the oligarchs. The oligarchs only need us to repair the roads, deliver the mail, build the houses, do the spare jobs, and above all these days, be cannon fodder.
You'll never know what's going on by listening to corporate (oligarch ) news.
Who are you going to believe? Your President or your lying eyes?
Wake up!
--
FB - FFF

Billy

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The US is not the world and since the US needs world participation to keep it economically strong, it will be just as stuffed as any other country when oil production ceases to be effective. The US is also very relaint of oil for food transport and food production.

Yep. That means most modern cloth we wear, our computers our tupperware, much of our bedding materials, much of our furnishing cloth, the stuffing in our furniture, our shampoos, soaps, detergents, ice cream, tyres, car components - the list is very long.

Yes and since then it's found it's way into just about everything in your house. If you really want a scar, check out each household item and figure out where it comes from. so much of it needs petrochemicals.
And

Ummmm. I don't think you have got the right idea about the availablity of synthetics and where they come from.

Nope. It will be in deep doodoo, just as the rest of the 'developed' world will be. And remember there are 4 (I think that is the figure I recall) guns for every person in the US. Not a pretty thought.
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<Charlie> wrote in message > We must take a serious look at how we shall feed ourselves in the

Interesting article Charlie; thanks for posting it. There are a few problems with it though.
As a producer of beef cattle, I really disagree strongly with what he wrote about the need to be vegetarian. His view is very restricted as it relys on the belief that all animals are lot fed and that therefore one must have land to grow hay and grain. Balderdash I say. Such a concept only applies in farming areas of full snow cover over winter and even then in the dark ages, few beasts were kept over winter - just enough to breed stock for the next year.
I'm currenly looking for some sheep (mainly for fleece) but I will have any surplus killed. Sheep/goats/poultry (chooks, ducks, pigeons etc)/rabbits would be the sensible stock for non vegetarians to keep and these could be kept in smaller areas with a bit of effort.
Another thing which really irritated me about this article is that the author didn't even mention the need to use old fashioned non hybrid varieties of seed. All gardeners should know abut the need to be seed savers if they want to have a self succient garden.
There were a few other things about the article that I thought he missed but enough for now.
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wrote
on
applies
the
Are you talking about smaller animals here or cattle? If cattle I have problems with this paragraph.
Also the inefficiency in land use and water consumption of taking vegetable calories and feeding them to animals (which you eat) instead of eating them yourself is quite clear. I don't mean to say we could eat grass but the same land and water will feed more people if turned to vegetable food production instead of pasture.
Having said that I would much prefer to remain an omnivore. I hope it doesn't get to the point where meat becomes a luxury but it's possible. In the dark-ages meat was a luxury, the commoners (that's me and I assume you) only ate meat on feast days and holy days.
David
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not all land is suitable for vegetable production. cattle/sheep/goats can thrive on land too hilly or rocky to be useful for food production. i take it you are not familiar with the Northeast of the US? we have plenty of water, but not a huge amount of decent flat land suitable for food crop production. there's a reason old Yankees were dairy farmers & shephrds.

if you stop looking at 'meat' as being only high maintainance modern beef breeds (or dairy being only Holsteins), you will see that it should be possible to continue your omnivore habit fairly well. lee <who can get potable water from my well without electricty just fine & heat my house with wood if i have too>
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Since you have divorced what I wrote from the context of the article on which I was commenting and have also snipped any mention of small animals, then clearly I'm writing about cattle.
To put it back in context. The author of the article assumed that all cattle are fed on grain. You and I boht know that is not the case although it may be the case for most of the time in the US (although God knows why given the falvour of grain fed beef).

It IS possible in limited circumstances most of which don't apply across the breadth of drought ravaged Australia where animals will be able to forage and survive where a vegetaive food would shrivel to a crisp. The animals won't in general be prime killing stock for frying/grilling but they will certainly be edible in casserole/stew form. I suspect you must live in a water rich area to write what you did.

Haven't you been to a butchers recently? It's already getting to that level.
In

Yep. You got my point there.
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relys
have
dark
OK then how does reducing stock over winter relate to raising beef? What proportion of your stock go to market at less than 12 months? I don't see what you are getting at.

although
OK
the
My comments were not restricted to Australia and there are many places here and overseas where a crop could replace pasture.
Are you claiming that if things get tough as in our doomsday scenario we will be able to go right on eating as much meat as we do now? This paragraph and your later comments suggest that you will answer no. In which case we agree.

Not to the level where it's feast days only.

Once again we seem to be coming to agreement.
David
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I knew that :-)).
Remember, I was commenting on the article - this is not about the age at which we sell our beasts.
The author of the article wrote that the best thing (and I'm paraphasing so you see what I'm on about) post oil would be to be a veggie because "vegetable production requires far less land than animal production. Even the pasture land for a cow is about one hectare, and more land is needed to produce hay, grain, and other foods for that animal." and "of animals is not easy" and "The third problem is that of cost: animals get sick, animals need to be fed, animals need to be enclosed, and the bills add up quickly. Finally, vegetable food requires less labor than animal food to produce; less labor, in turn, means more time to spend on other things"
Basically most of that is rot and/or assumes that animals are fed on grain/hay or 'other foods'.
If we were immediately tossed into a post oil world, I'd keep our cattle. They are easy to raise (unlike his thoughts on that - occasionally one will meet its maker through natural causes but that is seldom). They can be raised purely on grass because we don't like in a climate where they have to be put in a barn and fed over winter (thus no need to grow food for them) and they'd be a good thing to own where syntheic products like vinyl and plastic is no longer available. And sometimes they'd also be 'meat' but really they'd be too useful to just be 'meat'.
My real quibble with the article was that the guy seemd to have a very limited view of what would happen in a post oil world. He, and many other people, don't seem to know where event he most basic things that would make life worth living (like soap and light) would come from in such a scenario. I've always been fascinated by how people lived pre electricity and pre oil. I think the worst thing would be getting proper clothing.

Yes it could BUT most countries these days are becoming less and less capable of supporting themsleves in food production. Oz is still one of the lucky ones but if we keep going the way we are with appallingly cheap imports then it won't be long before we are in the same boat as much of the rest of the world.

Yep we do agree on the fact that there will be reduced meat eating. But if we had rabbits then that would be a different thing altogether. I still remember pre battery hen days when chook was a feast day food and I was born and raised on a poultry farm.

:-)) Yeah but it's heading there.

Yep.
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if
Not practical, the catcher refuses to hand them over without lots of holes.
I still

born
Roast chicken was what you had at Christmas or your birthday if you were lucky.
David
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:-)) so do my Jack Russells.

Yep. Are you an old fart too?
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wrote:

Agreed.
I agree.
Grass fed beef, slow to maturity, is some of the best I have eaten, along with bison, which is available locally for us. Harvesting and storing winter feed is certaily doable, on a limited scale, though work it is. Most of the time here, snow cover is not total through the winter.
Also, depending upon your location, deer, elk, etc. are there for the harvesting, at least for now. I used to hunt, and eat whitetail deer. Still eat some every year, as the boys both hunt and I always help them butcher. I haven't killed for about ten years, but am able and prepared to do so.
Same for all sorts of wild meat here in the u$.....fish, frogs, squirrel, rabbit, wildfowl, upland game and some critters that I have eaten years ago, such as raccon and some that I haven't been hungry enough to try yet, such as possum. Depends upon your locale. Have I read that 'roo is eaten in your country? Should be plenty of them to go 'round!

Rabbits are simple to raise, and the old idea of having individual hutches, breeding boxes, etc., is not necessary. We've raised rabbits in a shed with straw bale shelters, free to roam about the shed, and they did great and gave us a great harvest.

I've been raising only heirloom garden produce for ten years and saving seeds. This is *essential* if we want to survive a downturn. Absolutely essential. I continually recommend heirlooms to people.
I try and maintain a selection that produces in dry climates and in normally moist years. COvering bases. People alos need to research what the native peoples rased before modern methods took over......such as in the u$, where Native Americans raised much maize, beans. and squashes, all good storage items.

I agree, but the overview and the exhortation to thik about doing for oneself when the tide turns is the true value of the article.
Maybe, just maybe, some of us will make it. Hope it doesn't go all Mad Max on us.
Care Charlie
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Let's see. Gouged by the oil companies (record profits). Consolidation and subsidizing of food production (Cargill, Archer Daniel Midlands, Dow). Historic foreign debt and a total American debt of $161,287 per man, woman and child. Information, mostly controlled by 10 corporations, that is manufactured to generate consent (Iraq had no-thing to do with 9/11 or WMDs).
Debtor countries required to follow strict rules to repay debt, reduction of social programs for health and safety, repression of trade unions, and as in Chile and Argentina, martial law.
We have done it to others and the chickens are coming home to roost.
Who you going to believe? Your President and his gang or your own lying eyes?
Wake up!
--
FB - FFF

Billy

Get up, stand up, stand up for yor rights.
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