Reading for the holiday weekend: agricultural controversies
Two new books deal with a range of issues under current debate: GMOs, pesticides, chemical fertilizers, farm subsidies, local food, livestock raising methods, organics, and what have you.
The first calls on good government to take action to resolve the controversies. The second takes a cost/benefit approach and argues for technological change to settle the issues.
Singly or together, both should stimulate debate—in and out of the classroom.
F. Bailey Norwood, Pascal A. Oltenacu, Michelle S. Calvo-Lorenzo, and Sarach Lancaster. Agricultural & Food Controversies: What Everyone Needs to Know. Oxford University Press, 2015.
Andrew Barkley and Paul W. Barkley. Depolarizing Food and Agriculture: An Economic Approach. Routledge, 2015.
The issues discussed in these books are not easy to resolve. Research on them is limited and incomplete. Viewpoints differ widely. Depolarization—or detente, as USDA Secretary Vilsack called it last year—will not be easy. It’s worth taking the trouble to understand the basis of the debates and these books are a good place to start.