Farming in America is losing the diversity needed to keep it alive. But Washington, Jefferson and Uncle Everon already knew that.
In one sense, that is still how modern agriculture works. You look to the future and discard the past. A modern rotation includes only corn, soybeans, fertilizer and pesticides. Whatever you may think about genetically modified crops, the switch to those varieties has driven the rush to the two-crop system. Those crops are designed to tolerate the presence of herbicides. The result is that farmland has been inundated with glyphosate, the herbicide genetically modified crops are engineered for.
The very structure of the agricultural system, as it stands now, is designed to return the greatest profit possible, not to the farmers but to the producers of the chemicals they use and the seeds they plant. And because those chemicals depend on fossil energy, the entire system is inherently unsustainable. What farmers used to return to the soil in the form of labor and animal manure — not the toxic kind you find in livestock confinement systems — they now must purchase, just the way they buy diesel for their tractors.