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Dan Barber on Farming Changes

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Dan Barber on Farming Changes

nofunlatte | May 11, 2008 06:07 AM

From today's New York Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/11/opi...

Barber (of Blue Hill fame) has an op-ed piece in which he talks about agricultural issues and the changes he perceives are necessary for the future. Folks, this is in the Michael Pollan mindset (which I largely agree with). He raises some interesting points, but I'm a little confused about one issue:

"In fact, small farms are the most productive on earth. A four-acre farm in the United States nets, on average, $1,400 per acre; a 1,364-acre farm nets $39 an acre."

Has anyone read about this before? How were these figures derived? It's my understanding that smaller farms are producing higher-valued products (e.g. fruits and vegetables) than larger farms (think wheat). Think about a sprawling Kansas wheat farm vs. the New Jersey market garden producing blueberries. Surely, then, one cannot compare the two. Or are these figures in Barber's piece based on two differently sized farms that produce the same crop? Anyone have any insight they can share with me? Also, I'm interested in the general impressions/opinions of chowhounds.

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