Re: European caution

Mike, Teige, Craig, Beth, and others:  several have referenced the 
"closeness" (literally and figuratively) of Europeans to farming, 
both intergenerationally and spatially.  To this I would introduce 
the question of farm size/scale.  I have a vision (based entirely on 
intuition) that farms in Europe are smaller and somehow more 
approachable by passersby than the several hundred to several 
thousand hectare farms that are typical in North America.  My 
intuition comes from hearing chance comments complaining about the 
inefficiency of small, heavily subsidized European farms (e.g. units  
of 12 cows), or about farmers being paid to protect environmentally 
sensitive zones (UK), support wildflower habitat, etc.  I can also 
recall UK livestock operators complaining about people tramping 
through their properties on nature hikes and the uneasy interface 
between agricultural and environmental interests (e.g. geese habitat 
vs. damage to crops; ecotourists; etc.)

All of this brings to mind a vision (which perhaps some REAL 
Europeans could comment upon) of a somehow more "welcoming" 
countryside - one that people would want to visit on a Sunday drive.  
Vast plains of corn, soybeans, and/or wheat waving in the sun with 
the occasional, distant farmstead in the distance may not be so 
appealing or interesting to city people.  Might scale itself be a 
factor in separating/distancing city from rural people, and urban 
from agricultural interests?  Ann
be so appealing as 

Dr. E. Ann Clark
Associate Professor
Crop Science
University of Guelph
Guelph, ON  N1G 2W1
Phone:  519-824-4120 Ext. 2508
FAX:  519 763-8933