Grow what the market wants

I don’t necessarily agree with everything Dr Dorothy Fairfax has to say about the food versus fuel debate (and wild horses wouldn’t drag a word about the secret location of her hideout from me, by the way), but it certainly gives us plenty to think about.

I’m not actually with her about food versus fuel. Grow what makes money, I say, but she certainly has some valid things to say about how short term farming seems to have become in recent years. We’ve all got the same problem. In the long term, this industry is going to do very nicely feeding the hungry and increasingly affluent billions around the world, but the problem is that it’s never the long term that’s the real challenge. The challenge is surviving this week, this month, this year.

There seem to be more and more people in agriculture who really don’t feel they’re in a position to take a strategic view of how to preserve their soil structure for the coming decades. I find that a bit worrying. Grow what makes money, but farming isn’t about making a fast buck. It’s a difficult balance to achieve.

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