Long Term Planning and the Importance of Soil

Degradation of soils has brought down many human civilizations. Our current industrial agriculture practices threaten the future of human existence. A 50-year farm bill is needed to guide policy on a more sustainable path, according to this oped.
January 6, 2009, 9am PST | Nate Berg
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"Unlike oil, it has no technological substitute - and no powerful friends in the halls of government."

"Agriculture has too often involved an insupportable abuse and waste of soil, ever since the first farmers took away the soil-saving cover and roots of perennial plants. Civilizations have destroyed themselves by destroying their farmland. This irremediable loss, never enough noticed, has been made worse by the huge monocultures and continuous soil-exposure of the agriculture we now practice."

"Industrial agricultural has made our food supply entirely dependent on fossil fuels and, by substituting technological "solutions" for human work and care, has virtually destroyed the cultures of husbandry (imperfect as they may have been) once indigenous to family farms and farming neighborhoods."

"Clearly, our present ways of agriculture are not sustainable, and so our food supply is not sustainable. We must restore ecological health to our agricultural landscapes, as well as economic and cultural stability to our rural communities."

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Published on Sunday, January 4, 2009 in The New York Times
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