Dr. Debra Reid>ISM Interviews M-Z>ISM Interviews M-Z, Segment 4


duration 10:41
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Since the mid/late 1700s in England, in the days of Jethro Tull, there have been crises in the culture of agriculture because people expand their land to large scale production. Her family's farmland is not good for large scale farming, but it is good for cattle.
Tells what she would do if she had to return to the farm. Then go to the Soulard market in St. Louis where there is a Slow Food movement and try to put together contracts with the merchants. Even though it may take time and put the farmers in debt, it is a way to save the family farm.
The current economic crisis means that fewer farmers can rely on farmer's markets and small niches for survival, because people don't have the money to spend in these markets. Many farmers think corn for ethanol production is their salvation. She points out how inefficient corn is for ethanol production. Thinks there is too much inflexibility in large scale agriculture, and she thinks flexibility is key for survival of farms. Looks at agriculture more as a way of life than a business. At her class in U of I, she notices students are more invested in the business side of agriculture.
Talking about the future and the present of farming makes her uncomfortable. She thinks that providing soy beans or corn for niche markets could be very important to the future of farms. Recalls one student at U of I whose family imports corn from TX for their ethanol plant. She thinks people look too far away for answers that can be found closer. She would like to see people prove that small scale and niche markets are viable. Her family is the past, and her students are the future of farming. She wants people in the future to hear her interview and to consider alternative views and experiences.