John Ikerd PhD
Professor Emeritus of Agricultural Economics
Still Under Construction!
Note: The professional opinions expressed on this website do not necessarily reflect any positions the University of Missouri may have on these issues. John's personal opinions are posted at https://johnikerd.com .
The prices Americans pay for food in supermarkets and restaurants do not reflect the “true cost” of farming. The basic reasoning is that if the things of nature belong to any of us, they belong to all of us, and we are not all being fully compensated economically for their use. The economic costs of food production also fail to include the value of the damages inflicted on nature and society by food production.
Accounting for the “true economic costs” of food and farming is a necessary step in the right direction, is not sufficient to account for the “true cost” of American food. Ignoring the non-economic social and ecological costs of food are an even greater concern than failing to fully account for all economic costs. Costs and benefits that are purely social or ecological in nature have no economic value to be internalized. The “true costs” of food should include “all costs” – social, ecological, and economic. Read More
During the 1940s and early 1950s, the future of family farms and rural life seemed brighter than at any time in American history. However in1993, I wrote: “The trend during this period has been toward fewer, larger, and more specialized farms. The result has been declining rural populations, declining demand for local markets and locally purchased inputs, and a resulting economic decay of many rural communities. Over the past fifty years, many rural communities seem to have lost their purpose. By the early 2000s, I saw hope for a "rural renaissance" emerging from the sustainable agriculture movement. Unfortunately, that hope has yet to be realized, as the wealth of rural communities continue to be extracted by industrial agri-food corporations. Read More
What is required is a fundamentally different model of agriculture based on diversifying farms and farming landscapes, replacing chemical inputs, optimizing biodiversity and stimulating interactions between different species, as part of holistic strategies to build long-term fertility, healthy agro-ecosystems and secure livelihoods. Data shows that these systems can compete with industrial agriculture in terms of total outputs, performing particularly strongly under environmental stress, and delivering production increases in the places where additional food is desperately needed... Also paving the way for diverse diets and improved health.” Read More
Reclaiming the Future of Farming
Food Security; The First Requisite for Sustainability