Farmland and National Security?

by jhwygirl

Courtney Lowery, of Newwest, had a interesting piece up on the rising price of farmland in the west. There’s lots of links with information…and makes you wonder what happens to America when we’ve developed up all our farmland? Should maintaining a certain amount of farmland (Oh, I can hear the catcalls now) be a consideration in the concept of National Security?

The inherent danger of not having enough space to be self-sufficient for a most simplistic need? The huge sucking of energy resources it takes to travel this most basic need 1000’s of miles to our kitchen tables? Is 1,500 miles for lettuce reasonable? Wouldn’t be able to ensure that we can provide foodstuffs to third world nations make us more stable?

Or is the production of food just too untechnical and without big enough profit that we’re better off to do things like drill more oil? I do believe that the people who are pushing drill, drill, drill are not only very short-sighted, but that the electeds that think the same way are more beholden to ‘old energy money’ than to ‘new energy money’. See, those wind mills aren’t as profit-making for a huge infrastructure web of corporations as an oil rig.

Think of the same for coal….and hell, we’ve got electeds out there pushing for coal-to-liquid gasification and we’ve yet to perfect the technology?! We don’t even have the plants and that is our idea of moving forward? In 2008?!

We’re well out of the time range of my lifeline, even if we were to start an Apollo-like energy program – and I don’t envision that we’ll ever rid ourselves of using crude – but I can’t, for the life of me, figure out why anyone – anyone – can’t see the logic of wanting to take pressure off of the crude oil market by pushing for wind and hydroelectric and other alternative clean energy sources.

We’ve known for years that we’re loosing ranching to development pressures – to rising land values, that, when you pencil it out, ranching simply isn’t economical. But when you start using the word “farmland” like Ms. Lowery did, it really brings it home.

America can’t grow without food, but is there not a cost/security-effective balance somewhere? A tipping point where we’ve either got to develop smarter or risk security?

Once it’s gone – farmland – it’s gone. We aren’t going to get it back.

Maybe we should start thinking about that.


  1. Ideas like “buy local” and alternative energy are two good, common sense ideas to reduce our reliance on oil and gain energy independence. I agree, the national government is short sighted, just like many Americans. Because our national government is not progressive, but reactionary in nature, it takes forever for good ideas to become reality. The best we can do at the local level is buy food and goods grown and made locally and vote for candidates who support investment in alternative energy.

    Unfortunately, it may take a “food crises” like what we are seeing now in the rising cost of energy to make the majority of Americans not take what is on their dinner plate for granted.

  2. Mayor of Mayhem

    There are some of us who don’t have the option to buy locally grown food. Enjoy it while you can. When we run out of space we’ll just take someone elses
    We might not be able to eliminate dependancy on crude, but if you listen to a guy like T. Boone Pickens or whatever his name is, his plan calls for drastic reduction in 5 years. I have reviewed some of what he says and it all makes sense. I have no doubt when it becomes more profitable to rehab from oil than to continue shooting it up, there will be plenty of U.S. companies jumping on board to help. I for one believe this country is still capable of great things.

  3. goof houlihan

    Yeah, the whole, “your grandparents were farmers, your parents were farmers, you are a farmer, and your kids have to be farmers was already tried….they were called serfs.

    Farmland belongs to people, and they have rights. Property rights, I think they’re called.

    I do like T Boone Pickens ideas, Mayor.

  4. The most effective way to change our little world is by spending our money wisely. In other words, try to know where your money goes because money is more influencial than the vote. Yes, it’s idealistic and high-minded. It’s a grass roots effort. It necessitates a conscious decision on everyone’s part, everytime we make a purchase. It is not perfect and it is not easy, but it’s something. It empowers everyone to try and make a difference.

    The “buy local” movement is as much about reducing the amount of energy expended to get food to our plates or goods to our stores as it is about supporting local farmers and merchants. But it’s not as simple minded as buying things only made and grown in and around your small town. That is an extreme. Buying local can mean buying grapes grown in CA instead of Chile, or purchansing a kid’s bike manufactured in Ohio rather than China. So you can’t say you don’t have a choice, Mayhem. And yes, goof, farmer’s do have rights that include selling their land for development. But I think there are many farmers who like to farm and if we, the consumers, can make it more worth their while by putting a little extra change in their pockets by cutting out middle-men and reducing the distance food and goods travel, let’s do it. It’s just being neighborly.

  5. I agree, T. Boone does have good ideas to reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil and I support anyone willing to give it a go. But everyone needs to understand that he isn’t doing it for patriotic or selfless reasons. Don’t believe his claim that he’s “80 years old and doesn’t need any more money.” He’s positioned himself to make billions (with a “b”) if we follow his plan to a T. Check it out.

    He also hasn’t been apolitical until just recently when he decided to push his plan. Whether you support the current administration or not, you can thank T. Boone for putting and keeping the Prez in charge.

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