If all farmers would only realize that the aim of agribusiness is to create loyal customers and have farmers using their products for life then farmers may look beyond the ever ready “solutions” these companies always seem to provide.
As you would know, big companies all can afford to employ agronomists and consultants who are seen to be giving independent advice based on the latest scientific research. However these employees are often no more than salesmen providing an array of products to “fix” your farming problems and these are backed up by the latest scientific research. Have you noticed that there is always a new product for the latest diseases and problems that are occurring as plants and animals become resistant to the last round of “solutions”?
Have you stopped to think who is funding the research? Ever since the Federal Government made CSIRO reliant on outside funding we no longer have independent research bodies but rather vested interests directing the findings. These days most new products are the result of companies devising products that are bigger and better than their superseded version. And as the really “nasty” chemical herbicides, weedicides, insecticides and animal drenches and vaccinations are banned, we are seeing a proliferation of targeted products for each and every problem. Where is all this leading?
What we are noticing that very few of these commercial products are actually aimed at the getting rid of the cause of the problem. But rather they are designed to deal with the symptoms of the problem so guess what? You can keep using them until another newer and improved version is researched and hits the shelves.
In our experience more and more farmers are waking up to the fact that they just do not need these sophisticated products. Due to the drought and the rising costs of these products, farmers have often been forced to stop and take another look at how they are going to keep going and make a profit. As more farmers turn their focus to wanting to build a healthy soil, they are finding that at least they can significantly reduce chemical inputs and at best stop using them all together!
Good common sense and having a good look at the cause of the problem is what leads to profitable, healthy farming. Many of the problems that are occurring in current farming systems just did not occur prior to the commercialization of the farming systems. And nor do they occur when farmers practiced farming without chemicals. Common problems such as red-legged earth mites, locusts, nematode infestation, stripe rust, and in animals mastitis, foot rot, infertility, the list is long. These problems are simply a manifestation of poor farming practices that have led to compacted soils and poor plant and animal nutrition.
What is the answer from agribusiness? Selective plant and animal breeding, GM, plant boosters and the list goes on – to “help” Mother Nature do her job. Do you know that thanks to selective plant breeding and corporatization of agriculture that India, Mexico and many other rural countries have lost the 100s of varieties of rice, maize and other grains which coexisted so that there was always at least one strain that would successfully grow?