Our local newspaper recently ran an article about local farmers and the problems they are having. Here are a few sentences from that article:
About 70 to 90 percent of the cost to produce nitrogen-based fertilizer is directly related to natural gas prices. The cost of such fertilizer has doubled in the last six years, from $225 to $550 per ton. One Central Oregon farmer said he and others have felt the pinch. "We're squawking-mad because we've got fertilizer costs going double on us, and we've got diesel costs going double on us... The future is not very bright for agriculture right now."
The era of inexpensive petroleum-based products -gasoline, plastics, synthetic plant foods, etc. - has probably come to an end. If not now, then certainly in the foreseeable future. For many farmers, big jumps in fertilizer costs combined with higher diesel costs may mean that growing lower-value crops will no longer pencil out - just breaking even may be impossible.
But perhaps this sort of crisis in agricultural production costs will lead to a serious reexamination of how things are currently done. If using petrochemistry to grow crop plants is now too expensive, maybe the time has come to try a different way?
And there definitely is a different way, a way based on harnessing natural soil biology. As I've described in previous newsletters, smaller market growers and home gardeners can fairly easily make a transition from direct-feeding plants to using beneficial soil organisms to satisfy plant nutrition needs with minimal input. Many growers around the country are already doing this, and judging by the number of orders we have received from agricultural researchers, the interest in developing bio-methods for larger farming operations is now going up as well.
For big farms, it won't be easy to reestablish the natural plant-tending soil organisms that have been wiped out by decades of chemical practices, but it can be done. And once the biological health of the soil has been restored, production costs will drop dramatically from that point onward.
Cheers and good growing, my friends,
President, BioOrganics, Inc.