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The logic of industrialised farming with automation and economies of scale is inexorable if you are not concerned with:
  1. Employment creation
  2. Monocultures and the chemicals used to keep them stable combined with periodic chemical/effluent disasters
  3. Routine use of antibiotics and associated development resistant superbugs
  4. Gross economic and political inequality
  5. Loss of biodiversity and rural natural and cultural heritage which is part of Ireland's tourist offering
  6. Rural depopulation and growth of cities
  7. Price reductions for small independent producers and price rises for consumers due to rise of monopoly power

Somebody has to eat all the food you are producing, but how will they afford it if there are less and less jobs available?

In practice there has been a steady decline in the number of farms, and the number of people employed on them. Robotic milking has many advantages for yields, cows, quality control and farm labour.  70 cows and 30 hectares may be the minimum economic size for an automated dairy farm in the future. Some further economies of scale are possible beyond this, but I'm not sure there is a great benefit to scaling this up to 700 cows and 300 hectares beyond destroying the social and environmental fabric of rural Ireland.

We do not have the endless prairies of the mid-west or the South African veld, and we do not want their social and economic structures either.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Mar 24th, 2021 at 11:45:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Forty years ago my grandfather, who ran our family farm through the Depression, said to me that we were headed for a far worse crash and that he was glad he wouldn't live to see it.  His reasoning was simple.  During the Depression most people, even in urban areas, had direct or nearly direct access to food production.  Now nearly everyone, even those living on farms, is wholly dependent on the retail food supply.  Recent comebacks such as gmoke periodically chronicles notwithstanding, it is no longer standard to have a garden or to help the country cousins with their extended family garden.  The US is now a net food importer, which is absurd and obscene.  Last year we were treated with images of cars backed up for miles waiting for food handouts.  The continued advance of industrial agriculture will just make this worse.
by rifek on Mon Mar 29th, 2021 at 08:42:23 PM EST
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