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News and information from UC Cooperative Extension about alfalfa and forage production.
Tractor & Hay bales
Comments:
by Laurie Askew
on December 6, 2012 at 11:03 AM
Thanks for keeping it real.
by Glenn M.
on September 30, 2014 at 9:03 AM
Wine, walnuts, and tomatoes are people food, while hay is to feed cows. It is scientific fact that animal production is a highly inefficient means by which to produce calories/protein. Hay production IS wasteful, and the arguments to defend it are weak - at best.
by Daniel H Putnam
on February 17, 2015 at 12:18 PM
Hi Glenn;  
Sorry I missed your comment last fall. Thanks for your comment.  
 
Unless I miss something - animal production systems (which originate with forages) are currently used as human food. And, unlike several luxury crops (wine comes to mind), it provides staple foods that people use every day. Each day. Lots of people. Maybe you don't use dairy or meat, but lots of people depend upon them.  
 
When it comes to efficiency issues, I think some of the critique of animal agriculture is valid, but some is not. Inefficiencies abound in agriculture. I'm not sure how 'efficient' it is to provide food calories in the form of fermented grape juice. It's certainly not a 'need' for human health (although some, including me, might disagree). Lettuce is my favorite example - pretty minor contribution to human nutrition for the water footprint - so if you want to dive into it - don't just accept commonly-held prejudices. Animal agriculture has its impacts, but also produces a lot of food and performs significant roles in absorbing products which would otherwise be waste products - e.g. citrus pulp, cottonseed, bakery waste, wine pumice (the list goes on for a long time). Pastures and alfalfa also provide significant environmental roles including wildlife habitat.  
 
Don't get me wrong, I deeply appreciate wine, lettuce, walnuts, and many of the other wonderful products from agriculture. The fact is that ALL of agriculture is having an impact on water resources, not just a single crop, and needs to become more efficient in water use.
 
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