(peaceful music) – My name’s Darrin Qualman,
I’m here on our farm by Dundurn, Saskatchewan. I’ve, for a big
part of my life, been Director of Research at the
National Farmer’s Union. I’m now doing work with
them on climate change and agriculture and
just finishing up a book on civilizations and energy. We’re standing in front of our barn. It wasn’t made for dairy,
cattle or cattle of any kind. It was built to house draft horses, so the pulling power for the farm. I guess the irony is it
was finished in 1918, just at the time that horses
were replaced by tractors. And we began a 100 year
process, 100 years so far, of injecting more and more
fossil fuels into agriculture. I’m certainly not trying
to give the impression that farming is bad. Farming is … the food
production system that we have does a lot of things right. But like every part of
our economy in society, over the last 100 years,
it has been transformed into something that is
highly fossil fuel dependent. Huge amounts of energy and material has to go into food production. And in the food system as a whole, it takes about 13.3 calories,
mostly from fossil fuels, to make every calorie that we eat. Fertilizers like nitrogen are
really a fossil fuel product. If you go to a nitrogen
fertilizer factory, there’s a big natural gas
pipe coming in one side, and a big hydrous ammonium nitrogen pipe coming out the other side,
so we’re really turning fossil fuels into fertilizer,
into food, into people. And those inputs we’re putting
in are also very costly. If you look at net farm income, you see that gross revenue
goes up very quickly. But net income kind of stays flat. And that’s because the
people that sell the inputs are taking more and more
and more in the middle. If we could reduce input use, we would simultaneously reduce emissions, but we would also have
a really good chance of increasing net farm income. So, the core of a solution, I think, is low input agriculture. Low input agriculture
has a potential to be high net income, and low emission. (peaceful music)