by Michael Smith (Veshengro)
The future in farming is a return to the ways of old, despite of what big-ag and the governments wish to imply. People such as the Amish also show us that farming in the old way is the only way to actually make a profit from farming without government subsidies.
Quite a number of young farmers, unable to afford the machinery, in the USA have gone, over the last couple of years, back to using horses (in fact they started with using horses, mules and donkeys and stayed with it) and found it better and cheaper.
In the post-carbon future we do have no other way than to reconsider farming in the old way with our four-legged friends, the horses, as well as mules and donkeys.
Oh, but, the doubters say, organic farming and using horses will never be able to feed all those billions and billions on the Planet. Really? Sure it can, and better than any modern agriculture. However, we all have to make changes.
We must not and should not forget the ox either as draft animal for plowing and pulling of heavy wagons though oxen are not always as amiable and pliable than are horses in this field.
In addition to the four-legged labor force on the farms,and in the field of forestry, etc., before anyone things that they have gotten away with it, human power will also be required again.
Once gasoline and such either get too expensive or that scared that it is reserved for but a few (exceptions) the chainsaws will be replaced by the crosscut saw again and the ax, and the brushcutter and grass trimmer by the scythe.
Herbicides and pesticides, bar those that are produced from natural ingredients, too, will be at a premium and thus manual weeding, hoeing, etc., will be on the agenda again and, no doubt, everyone who can will have a garden again too.
In so-called conventional farming the greatest costs are machinery and their fuel and agro-chemicals, be those herbicides or pesticides, “fertilizers”, and the like. It is this that swallows up most of the farmers' income and the manufacturers of such products laugh all the way to the bank, and the only way the farmer can actually break even (profit often is not even to think about) is by means of government subsidies.
The ways of old, that is farming with animal and human power does away with the need for, at least, “fertilizer” and costs for fuels and machinery, bar horse-drawn implements. The fertilizer, and in this case real fertilizer which returns nutrients to the soil, comes in the form of animal manure, from horse and ox and other animals on the farm.
Over the decades, especially ever since World War Two, mankind in the now called “developed world”, though st times this could be doubted, the developed bit that is, has become so detached from reality in farming and food growing that most seem to believe that all they need to do is add this or that chemical and plants will be healthy and produce nutritious results.
Time mankind woke up and smelled not the roses but the soil...