There was a time in the American plains when the wheat harvest was so abundant that the silos and barns were filled to overflowing. Grain was piled in the streets of small farming towns till it could be shipped off to market. The scene has changed in recent years as America's role as the world's dominant wheat producer has diminished.
The United States now claims just one quarter of the world wheat export market. If current trends continue, the US might run an agricultural trade deficit by the end of the decade.
Last summer we ran a short piece about this in World News and Prophecy. Victor Davis Hanson has an insightful piece showing the increasing amount of food we are importing from other countries. The decline in farming and its beneficial impact on the quality of American life gets to the heart of some of the societal problems we face. There is no turning back and the prospect is bleak. Here is the money quote:
Yet there is an insidious cultural cost to the end of agrarianism that we hardly appreciate. The family on its own land, using craft to work with nature, was a model practical steward of the environment.
Anyone who loses a crop to rain or hail hours before harvest can offer a needed tragic perspective to an increasingly therapeutic society. Public shame, not easy private guilt, was the agrarians' benchmark - and why not when they were rooted for life among wide-eyed neighbors?
Words meant little if not backed by action - as if anyone cared to listen to grand talk of profits to come from an orchard never quite planted. In short, sober American farmers were a calming antidote to almost everything that makes us uneasy with popular culture, from gangsta rap and Martha Stewart to Enron and the hyped trial of Scott Peterson.
Read the whole piece here .