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The following was excerpted from the speech of a
spokesperson for Synthetic Farm
“Many farmers who invested in the
equipment needed to make the switch from synthetic
to organic fertilizers and pesticides feel that it would be too expensive to
resume synthetic farming at this
point. But studies of farmers who switched to organic
farming last year indicate that their current crop yields are lower. Hence
their purchase of organic farming
equipment, a relatively minor investment compared
to the losses that would result from continued lower crop yields, cannot justify
persisting on an unwise course. And the choice to farm organically is financially
unwise, given that it was motivated by environmental rather than economic
Discuss how well reasoned... etc.
This speaker argues that farmers who invested
in organic farming equipment
should resume synthetic
farming because it is financially unwise
to continue organic farming. The speaker cites studies showing that farmers who
switched to organic farming last year had tower
crop yields. Based on these studies, the speaker concludes that the relatively
inexpensive investment in organic farming equipment cannot
justify continuing to farm organically.
The speaker also claims that continuing to farm organically is financially
unwise because it is motivated by
environmental, not economic, concerns.
The argument suffers from three
One problem with this reasoning involves the
vague comparative claim
that farmers who switched to organic farming last year had lower crop
yields. We are not informed whether the survey compared last year’s organic
crop yields with yields from previous years or with those
from synthetic farms. Moreover, the author provides no evidence about how the
survey was conducted. Lacking more information about
the survey, we cannot accept the speaker’s conclusion.
Secondly, the speaker assumes that the low
crop yields for first-time organic farmers last year are representative of crop
yields for organic farmers overall.
However, more experienced organic farmers might have had much better crop yields
last year. Also, the firsttime organic
farmers might improve their own crop yields in future years. Moreover, last year’s
yield may have been unusually low due to
poor weather or other factors, and thus not indicative
of future yields.
asserting that organic farming is
financially unwise because it is motivated by environmental instead of economic
concerns, the speaker unfairly assumes
that a practice cannot be both environmentally and economically beneficial. It
is possible that, in the long run, practices
that help protect the environment will also result in greater economic benefits.
For instance, organic farming methods may better
protect soil from depletion of the elements that contribute to healthy crops,
providing an economic benefit in the long run.
In conclusion, the speaker’s argument is
poorly supported and is short-sighted.
To better evaluate the argument, we would need more information
about the how the survey was conducted, especially about the comparison the
survey makes. To strengthen the argument, the
speaker must present evidence that last years’ crop yields from first-time
organic farmers are representative of yields among organic
farms in general. The author must also provide evidence that environmentally
sound practices cannot be economically beneficial as