Thursday, October 18, 2007

Salatin vs. Avery Debate

**Bloggers Note: I write my blogs ahead of time now so I can post them first thing in the morning, but yesterday I posted a blog that was meant to be posted today so that's why the titles and writing seem out of sync. Just so you know.**

Okay... I realize I'm going a little heavy on the Joel Salatin information lately. I don't want you to think that he is the only guy out there and that I'm totally locked in to his systems and mindset, but he does write a lot and put a lot of information out there. I promise ... this post and the next one will be regarding Mr. Salatin, but after that I will hit some other sources or talk a little bit about some things happening around Stoneyfield.

I came across this DEBATE between Joel Salatin and Dennis Avery who was the director of the Center for Global Food Issues when this interview occurred in July of 1999. By clicking on the link you can read the debate between Mr. Salatin and Mr. Avery as the answer questions from callers on a radio show. It is a very interesting read because they come from two very different view points. Mr. Avery is a supporter of high yield chemical farming while Mr. Salatin is all about locally based farming providing for the area surrounding the farms.

I think the biggest thing I saw while reading this debate was the huge difference of world view between the two men. Mr. Avery believes that we need to rely on science and high production models in order to feed the word while Mr. Salatin believes we need to change our production models and mind sets. I believe we need to change our world views in general so I did find myself siding with Mr. Salatin on many points. I think this is the greatest exchange in the entire article and really speaks to the difference between the two view points:

Host Jeff Ishee: Dennis and Joel, it’s certainly been an entertaining two hours and a fascinating conversation. I had four pages of questions, and I haven’t gotten to a single one yet, and I’m bound and determined to ask at least one question. What role do you think that government should play, both on the farm, and in agriculture overall?

Avery: I think government should be a player in the research game, and I think that the government needs to be very aggressive in making sure that American farmers get the opportunity to help contribute to feeding a larger, more affluent population that we are going to have in the year 2040. That means eliminating the trade barriers and opening the playing field to everybody.

Salatin: Well, I don’t believe that we should have a USDA. Period. All it is, is collusion with the multi-national corporations, and they stack the deck and create all this scientific information that’s biased and prejudiced. We don’t get good research. I’ve watched it for forty years come out of the cow colleges, the land grant universities. Virginia Tech figures out how to kill a bug, and the environmental scientist group at the University of Virginia figures out what else it killed. That’s basically the type of research we have. So, I don’t think there is any place for the USDA. We’d be a lot better without it at all. Turn it into a free market . . .

Avery: But then you’d have only the companies.

Salatin: Ah! But I can compete with the company. But I can’t compete with all the academic fraternization that occurs with the collusion between the bureaucrats and the companies themselves. On equal footing, we’ll compete fine. Privatize it, and we’re in business.

If you read the debate let me know what you think. I really enjoy reading these sorts of things. While I completely believe that doing is better than reading there is only so much doing I can do when I live over an hour from the farm ... so, for the rest of the time I'm trying to prepare myself for the marketing of the farm and part of that is knowing why I do the things I want to do.


Anonymous said...

I just found your blog and I'm fascinated. Thanks for sharing all the things you're learning as you make your way to farm life. I've read Salatin before, but that interview was wonderfully radical! Maybe because the other side makes no sense to me now.
I've been pondering a farm for many years, but God has seen fit to keep our family (husband and 7 kids) in the suburbs for now. Perhaps because we need to learn more from people like you and Mr. Salatin.
What I've gotten from farm blogs and such, is that true farming (the kind that supports the land and encourages health and growth instead of changing what God has made into man's image) is basically a self-educating process. I find that truly inspiring. Must be the libertarian in me.
Thanks again. Keep up the good HARD work, I know I'll be reading about your adventures as a full-time farmer in the not too distant future. :)

CresceNet said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
sugarcreekfarm said...

Ethan - just responding to your comment over at my blog. You may certainly email me. The address is themillers92 (at) osage (dot) net.

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