Commentary: Bill Gates, a voice of reason for modern agriculture

 Resize text         Printer-friendly version of this article Printer-friendly version of this article

Where are the voices of reason, those who would speak out for modern agriculture? Recent news would lead you to believe that the activists are gaining ground and that we must cast aside our use of modern technology for the more compassionate, politically correct farming methods that were common in the days before electricity reached into rural America.

News item: In early January an arson fire heavily damaged 14 cattle trucks at Harris Farms in Fresno County, Calif. The Animal Liberation Front (ALF), an underground group that the FBI identifies as a domestic terrorist organization, claimed credit for the fire in a statement sent to the Fresno Bee newspaper. The fire caused over $2 million in damages, but fortunately no one was hurt. No arrests have been made.

News item: In Ohio this week, a woman who is a self-proclaimed animal rights activist, was arrested and charged with soliciting a hit man to kill a random person wearing fur, either by shooting the individual or slitting the individual’s throat. You read that right, she allegedly didn’t care who the target was as long as they were wearing fur!

Fortunately, the plan was easily uncovered by the FBI since the woman allegedly used Facebook to search for a hit man. The agency subpoenaed Facebook to uncover details about the woman’s profile, and an FBI agent contacted her posing as a would-be hit man. Federal marshals arrested her and she is awaiting a hearing.

News item: A British hog farmer targeted by animal rights activists apparently committed suicide a few days after an undercover video was released showing animal cruelty on his farm. The British press called the video “shocking,” and the farmer was quoted as saying he was “absolutely gutted.” There was no suggestion in the reports that the farmer was directly involved in the cruelty – his employees were apparently the culprits – but the man was allegedly harassed and the publicity may have been more than he could bear.

Increasingly, it seems, news items such as those are becoming common occurrences. The decades-old animal rights movements in Europe and America have undoubtedly had an impact on the population as a whole, and become an all-consuming focus of a select few.

Setting arson fires and plotting a random murder-for-hire are illogical means by which to further a cause. But, we can’t apply logic to illogical or deranged thinking. No, what we must do is seek voices of reason and spokesmen and women for agriculture whose voices are capable of being heard over the steady drumbeat of those who seek to take agriculture back to the hunter-gatherer days.

One of those voices belongs to Bill Gates. Yes, the Microsoft founder is an advocate for agriculture, championing the use of technology and modern agriculture to alleviate hunger throughout the world. At a speech to the UN rural poverty agency (IFAD) in Rome, this week, Gates called for a “digital revolution” to combat hunger by increasing agricultural productivity through satellites and genetically-engineered seed varieties.

“We have to think hard about how to start taking advantage of the digital revolution that is driving innovation including in farming,” Gates said. “If you care about the poorest, you care about agriculture. We believe that it’s possible for small farmers to double and in some cases even triple their yields in the next 20 years while preserving the land.”

Gates’ foundation has committed $2 billion for farmers over the years, and in Rome he announced $200 million in new grants to finance research on a new type of drought-resistant maize, a vaccine to help livestock farmers and a project for training farmers.

“Investments in agriculture are the best weapons against hunger and poverty,” he said.

Gates defended the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the developing world and large-scale farm land investments by foreign states in the developing world – both seen as highly controversial by many.

“You should go out and talk to people growing rice and (ask) do they mind that it was created in a laboratory when their child has enough to eat?” Gates said. “The change in the way mankind lives over the last several hundred years is based on adoption of innovative practices and we simply haven’t done enough for those in the greatest need to bring these things (into use).”

Now that’s a voice worth championing to all those who would denounce modern agriculture.


Prev 1 2 Next All



Comments (36) Leave a comment 

Name
e-Mail (required)
Location

Comment:

characters left

Freethinker    
February, 24, 2012 at 11:29 AM

The legacy of Bill Gates is to push out superseding editions of poor quality, overpriced software. This doesn't seem much a model for the food production industry.

Gerald Mechor    
Orchard Park, NY  |  February, 24, 2012 at 11:56 AM

Glad to see that Bill Gates supports technology that will allow for food production for a world in need. There is too much hunger in North America and the rest of the world and we must be prepared to deal even with greater challenges in the future.

CAD    
Colorado  |  February, 24, 2012 at 12:10 PM

What he proposes is not sustainable. Its all about making more money for Microsoft, Monsanto, Dupont etc. Take a look at what Howard Buffet is doing with his non-profit. Working with real farmers and with nature is much more productive than relying on fossil fuels, chemicals and technology.

Dwight Lee    
Proud Iowa Hog Farmer  |  February, 24, 2012 at 03:02 PM

Your post is so ludicrous that it boggles the mind. Our modern way of life is made possible through the use of modern methods of agriculture, which includes the use of chemical fertilizers. As for the companies that you obviously hold in contempt - profits are a just reward for productivity and innovation. The Luddites' plan for a forced return to primitive methods of farming is a sure recipe for mass starvation. Let's be grateful we have Bill Gates to help get the message out. By the way - did you eat today? If so, then thank a farmer. And thank a *hog* farmer if you had ham, bacon, pork, or sausage!

wafarmer    
wa  |  February, 25, 2012 at 01:37 AM

The argument for reverting back to the old days comes from a group of people who are self centered, and will not look past their little happy spot. The world population is growing, starvation is killing more people than war, and all they care about is how their meal was grown. As if we are trying to kill off our customers. People on the other side of the world are going hungry, but who cares right? If it isn't organic, it can't be good for you, and therefore all people must eat organic. They have decided that is the way they like it, and there should be that way for all, because they know best. After all, Michael Moore, Dr. Oz, or the never ending league of greenie attorney's wouldn't possibly report anything that isn't based on scientific fact to get in the news would they?

wafarmer    
wa  |  February, 25, 2012 at 01:38 AM

The argument for reverting back to the old days comes from a group of people who are self centered, and will not look past their little happy spot. The world population is growing, starvation is killing more people than war, and all they care about is how their meal was grown. As if we are trying to kill off our customers. People on the other side of the world are going hungry, but who cares right? If it isn't organic, it can't be good for you, and therefore all people must eat organic. They have decided that is the way they like it, and there should be that way for all, because they know best. After all, Michael Moore, Dr. Oz, or the never ending league of greenie attorney's wouldn't possibly report anything that isn't based on scientific fact to get in the news would they?

Bill Stanley    
Texas  |  February, 25, 2012 at 07:54 AM

"Gates’ foundation has committed $2 billion for farmers over the years, and in Rome he announced $200 million in new grants to finance research on a new type of drought-resistant maize, a vaccine to help livestock farmers and a project for training farmers." === It is great to see someone support a voluntary approach, rather than advocating a more authoritarian government redistributing income / wealth. www.newsandopinions.net

Tammy Fields    
Washington  |  February, 25, 2012 at 10:02 AM

Bill Gates supports GMO's, which are poisoning not only the planet, but the people on it! WAKE UP! Do your homework.

dick wettlaufer    
winfred,s.d.  |  February, 25, 2012 at 08:37 PM

How do gmo,s poison the planet they are not toxic to anything but a few specific bugs

dick wettlaufer    
winfred,s.d.  |  February, 25, 2012 at 08:31 PM

hurrah: the animal rightists probably won't notice, but some in the middle will.

Larry    
USA  |  February, 25, 2012 at 10:15 PM

Re Commentary: Bill Gates, a voice of reason for modern agriculture Greg Henderson, Editor, Associate Publisher, Drovers CattleNetwork | Updated: February 24, 2012 Facts- Vaccinate the World: Gates, Rockefeller Seek Global Population Reduction- http://www.oldthinkernews.com/?p=27

Larry    
USA  |  February, 25, 2012 at 10:18 PM

Re Commentary: Bill Gates, a voice of reason for modern agriculture Greg Henderson, Editor, Associate Publisher, Drovers CattleNetwork | Updated: February 24, 2012 Facts- Vaccinate the World: Gates, Rockefeller Seek Global Population Reduction- http://www.oldthinkernews.com/?p=27 MORE- http://www.info.com/searchw?qkw=bill+gates+wants+to+reduce+world+population&qcat=web&q=&qhqn=&KW=

backwaterbilly    
February, 26, 2012 at 11:55 AM

Not one word mentioned about nutrient depletion in GMO crops.Also nothing mentioned about the waste of food through the subsidizing of Ethanol.

m    
SD  |  February, 27, 2012 at 02:38 PM

Do you any negative spouting people commenting here have ANY scientifically researched EVIDENCE to verify your claims aginst GMO's and other modern agriculture practices?

dee    
February, 27, 2012 at 04:49 PM

I trust Bubba Gates on agriculture about as much as I trust him on computers - - which to say NOT AT ALL!!

JP    
Oakland  |  February, 27, 2012 at 11:20 PM

The latest study on GMOs: http://www.greenmedinfo.com/article/bt-toxin-and-glyphosate-residues-genetically-modified-plants-likely-exhibit-synergistic-toxi

JP    
Oakland  |  February, 27, 2012 at 11:22 PM

http://www.greenmedinfo.com/article/bt-toxin-and-glyphosate-residues-genetically-modified-plants-likely-exhibit-synergistic-toxi

JP    
Oakland  |  February, 27, 2012 at 11:27 PM

GM seeds losing resistance, now more pesticides will have to be used, increasing soil degradation and food intoxication: http://on.wsj.com/z7jqBu

JP    
Oakland  |  February, 27, 2012 at 11:29 PM

Viena: #Genotoxic effects found after RoundUp exposure to concentrations of 450-fold dilution from agricultural dose - http://bit.ly/yYtRjs

JP    
Oakland  |  February, 27, 2012 at 11:31 PM

"Industrial agriculture has already failed to feed the world" - http://bit.ly/zOGK5K

JP    
Oakland  |  February, 27, 2012 at 11:31 PM

Monsanto blames farmers for GM seeds failure . http://wapo.st/AmCfZj

JP    
Oakland  |  February, 27, 2012 at 11:33 PM

Agent Orange present in our food supply chain - http://bit.ly/yUO3s7 What is agent orange: http://bit.ly/ApmnsB

JP    
Oakland  |  February, 27, 2012 at 11:36 PM

Monsanto blames farmers for GM seeds failure . http://wapo.st/AmCfZj

JP    
Oakland  |  February, 27, 2012 at 11:38 PM

Lab Study Establishes Glyphosate Link to Birth Defects - http://bit.ly/w8ITqq

JP    
Oakland  |  February, 27, 2012 at 11:41 PM

The results are coming out now, and we have the obligation to disseminate this information as fast as we can.

JP    
Oakland  |  February, 28, 2012 at 12:01 AM

The results are coming out now, and we have the obligation to disseminate this information as fast as we can.

michael    
kansas  |  February, 28, 2012 at 09:51 AM

Hey real farmers and PORK publisher, where are all these obnoxious Trolls, Troll Posts coming from? And other than insulting us, demeaning us, denigrating us and disputing reality with us; why are they here? Considering their general willful ignorance, nasty ad hominem rudeness and bigotry, I sincerely doubt they came here without someone else's directions. Any thoughts?

Hank    
KC  |  February, 28, 2012 at 10:13 AM

Articles can easily be found on various subjects like GMO, Gates, etc., by setting up an automatic Google alert.

JP    
Oakland  |  February, 28, 2012 at 10:44 AM

The results are coming out now, and we have the obligation to disseminate this information as fast as we can.

JP    
Oakland  |  February, 28, 2012 at 11:06 AM

The results are coming out now, and we have the obligation to disseminate this information as fast as we can.

JP    
Oakland  |  February, 28, 2012 at 10:33 PM

"Industrial agriculture has already failed to feed the world" - http://bit.ly/zOGK5K

JP    
Oakland  |  February, 29, 2012 at 07:23 PM

"Industrial agriculture has already failed to feed the world" - http://bit.ly/zOGK5K

JP    
Oakland  |  March, 02, 2012 at 12:23 AM

"Industrial agriculture has already failed to feed the world" - http://bit.ly/zOGK5K

Maxine    
SD  |  March, 02, 2012 at 11:55 AM

My family have been beef cow producers, aka 'ranchers', 'cowboys', 'land stewards', or many other 'titles' for six generations, dating back to 1890 in western SD. We make changes in our methods as sound, peer reviewed science indicates the common sense of such changes. We produce high quality feeder cattle and have won a multi-state environmental stewardship award for our care of the land we control. I expect as much care and research of people who make disparaging claims regarding food production and producers. Claims without a sound science, peer reviewed basis cannot be considered legitimate by anyone who is responsible, IMO.

Maxine    
SD  |  March, 02, 2012 at 12:33 PM

How many people are hungry or starving NOT due to any failure of US agricultre, but to parental or government failure to protect them? And, I refer to African and some other Third World areas where governments are either un-caring, or deliberately controlling certain populations out of existence.


EPRINEX® (EPRINOMECTIN)

Kills 39 species and stages of parasites—more than any other product - Controls adult worms and 4th-stage larvae, lice, mange ... Read More

View all Products in this segment

View All Buyers Guides