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Recent reports will make you think

Several interesting pieces of information have come by in the last few days. Perhaps there is a link among them. I don't know.

The Wall Street Journal just published an article wondering what Mr. Atta and other September 11 terrorists were up to when they took an exceptional interest in aerial applicator techniques and equipment. Did they learn that to attempt terrorism with a hijacked crop duster airplane and usual products is a very poor way to poison or frighten people? So, they decided to go big with a hijacked airliner. Regardless of the purpose, it does behoove us to be ever vigilant about the security of our products and equipment!

Next, there was a report from USDA's Economic Research Service. It was entitled “Agricultural Income and Financial Outlook.” The report forecasts a $60.8 billion cash farm income which eclipses 1993's previous record. Livestock prices and lower food costs allowed gains in that sector. Here in the South if it were not for extra government payments, we'd be in deeper trouble. The report goes on to state the obvious that food commodities low prices even with good yields have not offset higher input costs. Land values have increased, but from where we sit, it's not because one farmer is buying another's land. It appears to most of us that the increase in total income is due primarily to extra cash infusion by the government through various support programs.

Another interesting article in Science Magazine shows that the size of the aging population is increasing. Put another way — more people are living longer. Between 1980 and 2000 the 85 and older population increased by almost 90 percent; over 65 increased by about 40 percent while all ages increased by only about 20 percent. We're getting older — living longer. The terrible environmental debacle described by our enviro nuts must not be true. Modern technology, better health care and nutrition are having an effect not admitted by the doomsayers.

We wonder why the “Organic Consumer” Association is so deathly opposed to biotech agriculture. In a recent press release they claim that biotech advances will have no effect on the Third World's ability to feed itself. They claim that the outlook for biotech produced goods is bad. We, also read the papers, see the pseudo-scientific barriers falling away one by one as biotech acceptance and good science increases. Seems to me these people should be embracing biotech produced products as “enhanced organic” since they can claim that they do not use sprayed-on pesticides. Appears they've gotten themselves in a box and don't know how to get out.

So-called bio-terrorism bills are being touted in Congress. Most seem to attempt to throw more money at FDA and USDA to allow more inspections and research. To us, despite all the noise, poisoning our country's highly diverse food supply is a virtual impossibility. Certainly a selected store or process might be affected, but the whole food supply! You've got to be kidding. Seems more like efforts to be seen as doing something while adding to the pork barrel.

What do you think??

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