Abundance and Scarcity: Two Opposing Forces Driving the Way We Live and Farm

New American Farming

When it comes to farming, there are one of two thought processes, or belief systems, governing the mode of operation for each and every farmer and each and every farm (big or small). One is abundance and the other is scarcity.  The dominant thought process, or belief system, maintained on the farm will be made evident by the farming practices on the farm.  Same goes with orchards, gardens, ranches, or any of other words and phrases from the agricultural vernacular used to describe the places where food comes from.  No matter where you farm or what you farm, the way you farm is dependent upon the way you think and believe.  So, let’s review the two ways of thinking.

Scarcity is a belief system based on the idea that there is not enough to go around; not enough hours in a day, not enough money, not enough play time, not enough of anything.  Someone has to go without.  Something has to be sacrificed.  Someone must pay.  In order to get by, you have to stay ahead of the game or stay on top of the heap.  Snooze you lose.  Only the strongest survive.

In order to solve the world’s problems with a mentality of scarcity, one must learn to be efficient.  They must learn to do a lot with a little, which falls in line with the kill-two-birds-with-one-stone idea.  Everything is gauged by how feasible the solution is to the problem.  Stick with a single crop, or animal, so as not to complicate the operation.  Soon the issue of economies of scale comes into play.  The producer then decides how large their single crop operation needs to be in order to provide for themselves and their family based on the market value of their product. Assuming the market is a free-market and the value, or cost of the product, is based on the producer’s willingness-to-sell price vs. the consumer’s willingness-to-buy price, then the producer would most likely find the size of operation that is optimal for their welfare and most likely the welfare of others around them.

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