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Agriculture's Big Picture

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AgWeb Editor Greg Vincent takes a big-picture look at agriculture and current events.

Agriculture's Shifting Landscape

Mar 29, 2010
I just spent the better part of the last two weeks on the Top Producer Frontier Study Tour seeing infrastructure developments in Panama and Brazil. While the Panama Canal is undergoing a massive expansion project and the entire country of Brazil is focused on boosting its infrastructure, our infrastructure is also changing rapidly here at home.
 
In western Bahia in Brazil U.S. ex-pat farmers have discovered the value of cotton. The area gets outstanding rainfall, it has soils that are ideal for producing cotton. This mostly-Midwest group of growers who went in search of a soybean Mecca have turned to cotton. Three-bale cotton there is expected and anything less is a major disappointment.
 
Meanwhile here at home, the shift from cotton to soybeans and corn is causing major infrastructure changes in the South.  
 
More infrastructure changes could be on the horizon if the animal rights movement has its way. The Humane Society of United States (HSUS), this is the big money machine, not your local puppy and kitty care shelters, has set its sights on Ohio this year after its successful efforts to pass a law to eliminate livestock confinement in California.
 
HSUS is masterful at manipulating the media, as evidenced by yesterday’s lead story in the Kansas City Star. The story, from its lead sentence:
An escalating culture war in the United States pits our appetites against our compassion for animals — and the Midwest is a key battleground.
puts the choice between an animal-cruelty free life and eating meat at opposite ends of the spectrum.
 
This is the nature of debate in our society today. It’s all or nothing, right or wrong. If you’re not with us, you’re against us.
 
Ohio, and the subsequent battles on this front will be interesting to watch in the future.
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