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John Block Reports from Washington

RSS By: John Block, AgWeb.com

John Block has dedicated his professional career to the fields of agriculture, food and health.

Michael Pollan

Jun 09, 2011

I wasn’t even going to mention the name Michael Pollan, professor at Berkeley. Unfortunately, he has a following of people that listen to him and think he knows what he is talking about. 

A friend of mine, Marshall Matz, who served as Chairman of Farmers and Ranchers for Obama in the last campaign does have it right. Marshall, just back from Africa, points out that “In order to feed the world, we will need every advantage of science to boost production.”
 
When I came back to farm with my father after serving in the Army, the U.S. had too much capacity to produce food. The government instituted land set-asides to cut production. Today, we’re not sure if we can grow enough. We are told that we will have to double production by 2050. A long article in the New York Times this week laments about “A Warming Planet Struggles to Feed Itself.” The Wall Street Journal in my hand talks about a large list of U.S. companies “Racing to catch up in Africa.”
 
The challenge before us is to ramp up food production. And yet, we have Michael Pollan saying, “We need to give up cheap food.” That’s his plan to fight obesity.
 
I admit that expensive food would serve to reduce obesity. In countries where they spend 50% of their family income on food, they don’t have an obesity problem. That’s Africa. But we’re not going to go that way.
 
Most of Africa right now is farming the way Michael Pollan and his followers think we should be farming – without the benefit of genetic engineering, commercial fertilizer, crop protection chemicals, and modern machinery. They are starving. However – they aren’t obese.
 
Obesity is a problem but failure to utilize modern farming technology and practices would guarantee global hunger and starvation. However, that doesn’t seem to be a concern of Michael Pollan’s and the anti-commercial agriculture crowd.
 
In closing, I would encourage you to access my website which archives my radio commentaries dating back 10 years and will go back 20 years when complete. Check on what I said back then. Go to www.johnblockreports.com.
 
Until next week, I am John Block in Washington.
 

 

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