A real farmer takes on the ‘agri-intellectuals’

I confess that I’m one of those people from the city (or, in my case, the suburbs) who’ve had a beef with modern agribusiness as it’s practiced in the United States.

I held a romantic’s view of farming, aided by the memory of five of my most wonderful growing-up years. In Huntsville, Ala., our subdivision was surrounded by the cotton farm it had been carved from. When we moved there in 1969, even the vacant building lot across the street was planted in soybeans. For a 7-year-old boy, nothing beats the thrill of seeing the big combine drive up the street and get to work just feet from your driveway, or coming home from school and heading out to the fields at harvest time to watch the mechanical cotton picker dump its fluffy load into gin-bound trailers.

Mainly my problem has been with the giant corporations like ADM and Cargill and not the individuals who operate industrial farms. Still, I know I’ve looked down on the huge Midwestern grain operations as somehow not worthy, the way many Southern romanticists look with a mixture of disgust and envy at modern-day Atlanta.

Which I why I found the two pieces linked below — written by a northwest Missouri industrial farmer named Blake Hurst for the journal of The American Enterprise Institute — so fascinating. He takes to task some of the “experts” who, in widely-viewed forums, criticize large farms by promoting misguided mythology about them. It’s nice to hear from a real expert on the subject, and my thanks to John J. Miller on National Review Online for pointing them out.

Take a gander, and if you’re so moved I’d love to hear what you think.

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