March 29, 2011

Blake Hurst - The Voice of the Farmer

Last week we hosted our third Food Revolution speaker, Blake Hurst. Blake is a third generation farmer from Missouri. He raises corn, soybeans and bedding plants for commercial sale using conventional methods.

Blake provided a lot of great counterarguments to the other views we've heard so far this month. He believes that GMOs are advancing the possibilities of farming, making crops hardier, increasing yields, decreasing the risks of disease or blight and overall improving the possibilities of various crops, without causing any significant risks to consumers. He also believes that the selective use of chemical herbicides is actually beneficial to the earth, because they allow farmers to use no-till farming methods, where, instead of having to plow weeds under, thereby loosening the soil and allowing more soil erosion, they can instead just spray to control weeds, and prevent as much soil and chemicals from running off into rivers and ultimately oceans. In response to the argument that organic crops have as high yields as conventional crops, Blake explained that in many cases, organic farming requires more crop rotation and field resting in between plantings than does conventional farming, which can sustain the same crop in the same field year after year. Therefore, an organic corn field may produce the same yield in year one, but only be plantable every three years, whereas a conventional corn field produces that same yield every year, so on year-over-year basis, the yield is considerably greater from the convetional farm.

Blake continues to work to make the voice of the farmer heard, and to defend many of the views and practices that have come under fire in recent years. He is the president of the Missouri Farm Bureau Federation and, when he's not busy on his farm, does as many speaking and contributing engagements as he can.

You can read more of Blake's views in his essay, "The Omnivore's Delusion."
Photo courtesy of

--Christie Wood

Christie Wood
Culinary Assistant

No comments:

Post a Comment