Hemmelgarn also introduced the idea of a monoculture and its effect on the soil, adding that "organic soils are better." Her statements drew the attention of both farmers on the panel, with Iowa farmer Pam Johnson addressing the monoculture accusation.
"It may look like a monoculture but to us it is not," Johnson began. "The reason you see corn and soybeans is because our climate is perfect for that crop. I'm a 6th generation farmer, and my ancestors went through a lot to figure out which crops work best. There is no more crop that is more diverse than corn. The diversity in that gene pool is a marvel. Corn is a marvel, not something to be looked down upon."
Mississippi farmer Jerry Slocum also had the opportunity to respond to soil conditions, adding that he has been no-tilling for 20 years.
"Our soils are pretty darn good. When we get rains, it's relativity spongy," Slocum explained. "My biggest pet peeve is that people look at me and don't think I'm a good steward. I earn a living from it. I'm going to hand it down. If anybody is a steward of the land, I think I'm one of them. We've done a lot in the last 20 years to be better stewards. The soil we farm today is better shape than it was 20 years ago, better than 10 years ago, better than last year even."
Read part two of the Food Dialogues discussion recap.
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Food Dialogues: Perceptions, Reality, Media And Marketing
Agriculture And Entertainment Talk About Food