Fred Kirschenmann, a long-time leader in the sustainable agriculture movement, Distinguished Fellow at the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, and a third-generation farmer (an organic farmer himself), offers some thoughtful reflections upon the future of agriculture.
Kirschenmann points out that much of what made modern industrial agriculture possible, depended upon relatively mild and stable climate conditions, and cheap oil. Both of these prerequisites no longer exist. Most experts expect that oil will contain to rise over the next 10-20 years, some even predicting $300 a barrel within just a decade. This alone, without the important environmental impacts of conventional agriculture, argues for profound changes to occur. The direction of change, whether we move toward sustainable agriculture practices, is at this time, an open question.