Q: The world underwent major transformations as a result of industry and agricultural changes. As someone who participated in much of that revolution, could you talk about how you view those changes?
A In the last 50 years, the science and technology of agriculture has changed dramatically, from the equipment and the materials used, to the fact that food is healthier and less expensive. There is advancement in virtually all of the sciences, from biology to electronics, and from equipment to storage capabilities, soil science, irrigation techniques-the list is as long as the list of sciences. What does this mean for the consumer? We spend about 10-14% of our disposable income on our food. If we spent the percentage that we did in the early 1960’s, that second and third TV would vanish, those $100 athletic shoes would not exist, most cruise ships lines would disappear. We would have to find 20-40 million people to go to the farm and enjoy the old 50-70 hour work week. We would need to find another 20-40 million acres to produce the food we now produce. The next time you hear someone talking about the “good old days back on the farm,” ask them if they will be one of the first to give up that air conditioned office for 60-70 hours a week in the field. Those people, I believe, fully intend for SOMEONE ELSE to do that. Thanks to all of the progress made by the Land Grant Universities, Industry, and USDA, about 90% of the people are at least 3 generations removed from agriculture, and, I’m afraid, don’t have a very good idea of how food gets on their table.