Whether With Farming Or Friendships, Technology Doesn't Trump Fundamentals

Published 3:38 pm Thursday, March 1, 2012

Crop rotation goes back at least as far as the Roman Empire and probably deeper in time than that. So it was more than slightly surprising to learn U.S. “farming practices,” according to the Associated Press, are threatening the nation's corn crop.

And why?

Too many farmers aren't rotating their crops.

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Crop rotation is Farming 101.

It is elementary, my dear Watson.

Apparently a major corn pest is evolving its way around a genetically engineered corn plant that makes its own insecticide faster than anyone thought.

According to the AP, scientists believe the problem may at least partially be due to farmers who have planted the genetically engineered corn in the same fields, year after year. And so the rootworm has had an accelerated encounter with the corn-produced insecticide and has been able to build up its resistance far quicker than if different crops had been rotated in and out of fields.

The crash course in the so-called Bt corn had seen the pest getting closer to graduating out of the pesticide's reach.

Which is not good.

This issue is symptomatic of mankind's rush to technology without paying attention to basic fundamentals-whether in farming or anything else-that will never go out of style.

Crop rotation has been observed across the globe for centuries and it has many benefits. Crop rotation ended the need to allow fields to remain fallow for a year, increasing productivity.

Pest and plant disease control has also been aided by crop rotation through the centuries. Varying crops helps combat both because various crops attract their own specific pests and diseases.

The soil is also improved by crop rotation, both in its accumulation and retention of nutrients and because crop rotation helps prevent soil erosion.

But technology, in the form of a genetically engineered corn plant, has been embraced by too many farmers wanting to hit the big harvest homer.

Whether in baseball or farming, however, one must pay attention to fundamentals. Fundamentals are everything in anything.

Baseball's a simple game. You see the ball. You catch the ball. You throw the ball. You hit the ball.

In farming, you pick the crop. You plant the crop. You harvest the crop. And then you pick and plant a different crop next year.


Just because we can plant our words into the world via Facebook doesn't mean the harvest of meaningful face time with our family and friends-the people right in front of us-will fill the kitchen of our soul with any true sustenance.

Putting all of our eggs in technology's basket can scramble our lives if we forget the foundations upon which our lives and relationships-personal and corporate-are based.

If a farmer can forget to rotate crops then there is no telling what is slipping from our own daily lives that we really shouldn't do without.