Texas' and America's farmers are suffering. As the Member of Congress representing the 10th Congressional District of Texas, I have traveled throughout our area and have seen first-hand how the drought has affected our agricultural communities.
The developments in the North were those loosely embraced in the term modernization and included urbanization, industrialization,and mechanization. While those changes went forward apace, the antebellum South changed comparatively little, clinging to its rural, agricultural, labor-intensive economy and its traditional folk culture.
This is an exciting time for farmers and ranchers of all types and sizes as agriculture is a bright spot in the American economy. In 2011, agricultural exports hit a record high and producers saw their best incomes in nearly 40 years.
In the late 1980s, Soviets were allowed to keep the wealth they created by raising vegetables on their garden plots. Although these plots composed only about 2% of the agricultural lands in the Soviet Union, they produced 25% of the food! When Soviets kept the wealth they created, they produced almost 16 times more than when it was taken from them at gunpoint, if necessary!
The people who benefit from this state of affairs have been at pains to convince us that the agricultural practices and policies that have almost annihilated the farming population have greatly benefited the population of food consumers. But more and more consumers are now becoming aware that our supposed abundance of cheap and healthful food is to a considerable extent illusory.
My first goal would be to reduce the perturbation in the carbon cycle. That would mean using carbon neutral sources of energy, and changing our agricultural practices to be less disruptive and polluting. I'm not talking about a policy here so much as changing the way our infrastructure works. That's why I'm so fascinated with changing the way we build cities, because they are the most developed forms of physical infrastructure for human habitation.
The United States as we know it today is largely the result of mechanical inventions, and in particular of agricultural machinery and the railroad. One transformed millions of acres of uncultivated land into fertile farms, while the other furnished the transportation which carried the crops to distant markets.
Mr. Bazzard's father, being a Norfolk farmer, would have furiously laid about him with a flail, a pitch-fork, and every agricultural implement available for assaulting purposes, on the slightest hint of his son's having written a play.
The international community must offer short-term emergency measures to meet critical needs. But it must also make longer-term investments to promote food production and agricultural development, enhance food security and maintain and accelerate momentum towards the MDGs.