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James E. McWilliams has written a new book, American Pests: The Losing War on Insects from Colonial Times to DDT. In the Austin newspaper, the historian writes a sense-making column about what works in agriculture, and how what sounds good is not enough to feed the world. McWilliams loves the farmer who has found a way to make a living selling organic food, but he writes that “should farmers today stop using chemicals, our food supply would be devastated. The only eaters left standing would be wealth elites able to afford local produce. I’m sure microgreens that sell for $12 a pound are mouthwatering, but they are not going to feed the world.”
So McWilliams supports the “judicious” use of chemicals and the rational development of genetically modified crops. He says we need to eat less beef and the country should provide economic incentives for a gradual shift in farming methods. Slow and steady, he advises. Interesting article.