Addicted Land?

As I’ve probably shared here already, Rachel and I gave up meat for Lent this year.  It was a very interested time for us; Rachel has barely gone back to eating meat, and I am eating far less than I used to.

I posted a facebook status Tuesday afternoon that I hadn’t “eaten meat since Sunday noon.”  This status received many comments, including an article link from Audie Alcorn.  “The Mad Cowboy” is Harold Lyman’s story, the excerpt is his telling of his infatuation, relationship, and break-up with Agri-business.

While the whole piece is worth a read, this part particularly struck me:

Even though I had increased crop yields dramatically, even though I could now grow a heifer to 1,100 pounds in just 15 months instead of the 30 months it used to take, even though I had bought leased many of my neighbors farms and increased my acreage fortyfold, it was getting harder and harder to make ends meet. The chemicals themselves were expensive, and every year I had to use more chemical fertilizer and more antibiotics to get the same result as the year before.

Does the last sentence here remind you of something?  Chemical fertilizers and the antibiotics (which Lyman explains all cattle need because of the unnatural living conditions) develop a dependency on the part of the land and the cattle. It takes more each year to get the same result.

Is there land rehab, or cattle rehab where detoxification might start?

I I weren’t already concerned about Agri-Business and their love of synthetic chemicals in replacing the natural ability of creation to nourish plant growth, I am now!  If I hadn’t already determined to eat only beef that is grass-fed rather than grain-fed, I am now!

I suppose it makes sense in some ironic way that we are, apparently, doing the same thing to the land and to livestock that we are doing to ourselves. On the other hand, I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be building up tolerance for unnatural chemicals; neither do I think the land and livestock should be.

One thought on “Addicted Land?

  1. This is probably my favorite passage from the excerpt (which, for those who don’t follow the link, is by a man who inherits an organic dairy farm and converts it into a modern feedlot operation):

    “I kept thinking about the soil–the magnetic feel of cool, dark, loamy, worm-laden soil in my hands. I’d grown up with my hands in that soil, and I’d always liked the feeling so much, I rarely troubled to wash them. I thought about how rich the soil had looked when I was a kid. It didn’t look like that anymore. Now it crumbled in my hands. It was thin as sand. There were no more worms in it. After all the tons of herbicides and pesticides and chemical fertilizer I’d poured into it, the soil looked more like asbestos. The trees on and around the farm were dying. The birds were gone. The farm was no longer a living, breathing thing; it was an increasingly precarious chemical equation.”

    …. I was just thinking of all the parallels one could make — to the current state of our finance industry; federal spending; personal addictions instead of organic, sustainably soul-nourishing things such as quality time, relationships, hard work, humility, slow cooking….

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