Re: Farming

John Anthony Hendrickson wrote:
> >A farmer with long-term plans to lease farmland has as much incentive as
> >an owner in maintaining soil quality.  Therefore, ag land renting can be
> >an efficient land tenure arrangement.
> >
> >Richard L. Bowen
> >Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics
> >University of Hawaii
> The *incentive* might be there but with fewer and fewer farmers farming
> larger and larger areas of land, my concern is the *ability* of farmers to
> adequately care for the soil when the scale of operation increases.  I am
> reminded of the quote "The best fertilizer is the farmers footprint" (don't
> know who wrote/said it).  Can a farmer maintain (or better yet build) soil
> quality when they're jockeying thousands of acres?  I'm not saying its
> impossible - but it certainly gets more difficult.  I know that as the scale
> of things that I'm working on (whether that be in my garden, home, or
> office) increases my ability to pay attention to detail and quality
> declines.  -John
> John Hendrickson
> Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems
> University of Wisconsin-Madison
> 1450 Linden Drive, Room 146
> Madison, WI  53706
> jhendrik@macc.wisc.edu
> (608) 265-3704
> http//www.wisc.edu/cias

From my own experience, as a farmer, I don't see how mega farms can 
effectivly build soil and improve its qualities. It takes time to manage 
cover crops, scout the fields, and educate myself in the profit building 
aspects of sustainable agriculture. But it is all worth it because my 
bottom line has increased! We as farmers need to think LONG TERM as it 
relates to our own survival which is directly related to the condition 
of our soil. To rent thousands of acres and treat it as a short term 
gain for our own personal benefit is not right. However I think it would 
be fair to say that not all "thousand acre renters" are of this mind 
set, but they are sure hard to find! 

Check out our new website! http://www2.epix.net/~cmfarm/
Steve Groff
Cedar Meadow Farm
679 Hilldale Rd
Holtwood PA 17532
Ph. 717-284-5152