“Just because you’ve got numbers doesn’t mean that you’re doing things in a more efficient way, and certainly not in a way that is more conducive to healthy food, whether it be animals or vegetables,” he says. “If you’re an industrial farmer, you’re trying to maximize the output by increasing the inputs and crowdedness of the situation. Just trying to put all of the inputs you possibly can into as small an area you possibly can, and trying to reap the benefits thusly.”
When asked about the economics of food production, Simmons had this to say: “If expense is their concern, then the totality of the expense needs to be considered, and that has to do with the health effects upon the people that eat the industrialized food, as well as the health effects upon the environment.
“And generally speaking, that’s never spoken to by the industrial people, because they don’t want to hear about that they’re not only providing a food product that’s not necessarily the best for the people, but they’re also involved in polluting the planet,” Simmons says. “Those costs are not considered, and as far as I’m concerned those are the ultimate costs.”
First, I need to point out that individuals and organizations with a sincere interest in sustainably feeding the world are indeed exploring and addressing these issues, using science, rather than self-serving assumptions.
Take a look at the Sustainable Beef Resource Center, for information on how modern production technologies allow more food production with fewer inputs.
Visit Plenty to Think About, an online blog created by Elanco Animal Health to generate a dialog on how agriculture can meet the need to double global food production by 2050, as estimated by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and do so with less land, fewer inputs and a smaller carbon footprint. Join the conversation and tell us how your production system helps address that need.
Read Beef’s Smaller Footprint, outlining research from Dr. Judith Capper at Washington State University showing how a pound of beef produced today with modern production practices requires 10 percent less feed energy, 20 percent less feedstuffs, 30 percent less land, 14 percent less water, and 9 percent less fossil fuel compared with production in 1977. Capper’s research shows modern, high-yield production practices have reduced beef’s carbon footprint by 18 percent over 30 years.