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Letters to the Editor

More labor-intensive ag drives up grocery costs

I’ve been farming in Lee County for more than 30 years, focusing my time on growing corn and soybeans for domestic feed and fuel and foreign consumption. Other farmers in our area raise livestock in addition to growing corn, soybeans or wheat. 

These farms support not only the families who live on them, but also rural communities, providing support and stability for the rural economy.

Still, if you ask Gary Paul Nabhan, my life’s work leaves something to be desired. In his recently published opinion piece [“Time to break the seed limit,” Nov. 1], Mr. Nabhan criticized modern agricultural production methods, crops and farmers’ use of programs like crop insurance. 

According to Mr. Nabhan, my farm is propping up a dying system and putting too much pressure on natural resources like land and water. 

Instead, Mr. Nabhan would prefer all farmers transition their businesses to small farms which produce a variety of crops to be sold to local farmers’ markets or utilized for on-farm sales. 

What Mr. Nabhan didn’t mention is that, while it might be a nice idea, the end result is less than desirable. Not only would we run out of land and resources long before we could successfully feed the world’s population, transitioning to a more labor-intensive system means increased costs in the grocery aisle – for all consumers, including our community’s most at risk. 

Instead, our current system – a mix of traditionally grown and niche products – provide consumers with multiple choices and multiple price points. That’s diversity if I’ve ever seen it. 

Note to readers: Don Meyer is president of the Lee County Farm Bureau.

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