From the Ground Up - Technology is Necessary to Feed Growing Population

For years there has been on on-going debate on whether organically produced food is better than food produced using all the newest technologies available to the American farmer.

“The public often understands, or they want to try and confuse the word pesticide with herbicide, when actually a herbicide is a pesticide that controls weeds. Likewise you have other products over here, insecticides, this insecticide is a pesticide that controls insects.”

Don Renchie works in the Agricultural and Environmental Safety Program for Texas A&M Agrilife Extension.

“The big conversations that we have are often are the differences between organic production and conventional production. I would like to remind the public that there’s probably room for both, but there will never be just a total reliance on one or the other. As a matter of fact, without these production tools, if we were to try and have a totally organic system nationally or worldwide, then we would probably have to go and have more arable land than we at this time possibly have.”

Urban sprawl and population growth suggest we’ll have less land to grow food on rather than more.

“That’s why we rely on technological advancements in genetics and crops or technological advancements in production equipment capacities and this kind of a thing, so it’s going to be a combination or it has to be a combination of all of those things. And so, certainly, we’re not going to dissuade individuals from trying to have their small acreage gardens and this kind of a thing because give the public what they want.

Renchie says there has to be a compromise between the all organic folks and farmers charged with the task of feeding a growing population.

“If we’re going to sustain and try and feed the entire world population using all of our agricultural technologies, not only in the United States, but in our sister countries, these products will always be part of the tool box, and that’s very important. We have to have a tool box. You can’t have a crescent wrench and a pair of pliers. You’re going to have to have an entire tool box if we’re going to make this thing work.”

I’m John Gilbert, looking at Brazos Valley agriculture, From The Ground Up.