Re: Minus agriculltural chems. / Increase in food price question
You just can't please a crowd that decides to dictate complex things for which they have little knowledge or experience. Besides the dwindling population that would work in an exterior environment, one of the primary factors in the switch to a "Chem based production model" in agriculture, was the concern about erosion, both wind and rain. So much concern, that to participate in any govt programs, it was mandated that much farmland had to maintain acceptable organic matter surface levels, thereby eliminating most tillage. So much of the current "chem culture" is a direct product of the environmental movement.
We can debate the worth of the govt programs, and as a recipient of said payments, I can say that I despise them, but as any govt program, they are designed in such a way as to provide control, and resistance will make you uncompetitive and put you out of business, while your neighbors that continue to receive line up to purchase your bankrupt operation. There are a few great programs, but they are overshadowed by many that are unnecessary, or do more long term damage to the industry in an attempt to correct a short term issue.
Without the programs, farming could/would be just as productive, as farmers would raise what was best suited to raise balanced with what was needed geographically. But the urban centers with their wonderful environmental examples(smog, concentrated excrement and garbage, acres upon acres of concrete, etc) would not be able to prevent rural America from "ruining" the global environment.
Hindsight is 20/10, not 20/20...
After the fact, I always know what didn't work.