While science and technology have increased the land’s capacity for producing food, it is sobering thought to realize that of the 7 billion people inhabiting the earth, 1 billion are hungry.
Sustainability. That’s the popular word today in discussions of food production and the environment. But for farmers, ‘sustainability’ means not only those practices that are good for managing soil, water, and land, it also means a few things practical to the business side of the farm, such as having enough land and feed to sustain the cattle, or managing the farm to stay profitable and in business, or managing the land in a way that brings opportunities to future generations. At its basic level, sustainability can mean maximizing the land’s potential to produce more forage per acre and more milk per cow. Profitability. Whatever the specific definition of ‘sustainable,’ one thing is for certain: economics drive solutions within capitalism.
We humans face a choice. As populations grow towards crisis levels and earth resources come under near-intolerable pressure, we have to decide how to feed ourselves.