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Regulation, legislation and the road to agricultural utopia

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Is agricultural utopia possible? Some regulators and environmentalists seem to think so.

It seems America is on the road toward some kind of agricultural utopia, where rivers, streams, puddles and rivulets are crystal clear all the time, and where any human can without qualm, quench his or her thirst in any-old, EPA-regulated farm ditch.

Yep, the future is indeed bright.

Our fields, orchards and pastures would be organically scenic and abundant laborers from the city – compensated only by the satisfaction that they are saving the planet – will skip between rows of burgeoning harvests, pluck pests from their hiding places with their fingers and humanely end their lives without chemical assistance.

No tractors, no plows or spray rigs, no fences mar the countryside. Contented cows dot pastures munching non-GMO forage that is perpetually green and lush. Power is supplied solely by sun and wind, and there’s a farmer’s market on every city corner, even in the dead of winter in Manhattan.

A strange new world indeed, but there are some who feel we can legislate and regulate our way to such a paradise. In city speak, these folks are blissfully unaware of what modern agriculture is already doing to protect the environment and supply the world with safe, cheap food. In country parlance, they are a couple of bricks shy of a full load and counting.

Corresponding with them, sometimes I feel like I’ve encountered a tribe of Eloi, who in H.G. Wells, “The Time Machine,” never questioned how they were surviving in their ridiculously utopian world.

Many Americans today simply have no idea that U.S. agriculture is the most efficient and sustainable in the world. Worse, they would have their environmental agencies regulate any drop of water that falls on a farm, even if the process eventually drove the farm to failure.

Then they would have their governments outlaw or so defame biotechnology as to render it useless, even though it saves millions of lives and make farming more sustainable.

But that’s exactly what they’re doing.

National Center Free Enterprise project director Justin Danhof puts it this way. “The anti-GMO attacks come from Americans who likely never missed a meal in their lives. Their campaigns against GMOs are unscientific, fear-based and inhumane, but they are winning. In fact, one ABC News poll showed that 93 percent of Americans think the federal government should mandate GMO labeling – a tactic they hope will elevate GMOs with taboo products such as tobacco and alcohol.”

In other words, the gains we’ve made to make pestilence and other stresses less likely to thieve our crops, we are now allowing radicals to endanger. However, attacking those who spread misinformation about agriculture is not a long-term solution. Somehow, agriculture has to reconnect with America. I’m open for suggestions.

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