Beresford, Tristram.  Limits of Efficiency

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The original meaning of the verb ‘to husband’ is to administer as a good steward; to manage with thrift and prudence; also to save. This is the sense of Henry Fell’s definition, which I quoted earlier: careful management to secure the greatest good; conservation of resources; a cherishing; thrift; above all, awareness of responsibility and continuity. Three hundred years ago, husbandry in this sense was used in industry generally, but after the industrial revolution the term efficiency was used instead.

In farming the word has not yet lost its meaning. We have not had an industrial revolution yet, and until we do, and produce our food by biochemical engineering, or synthetically, it is well to regard the word efficiency as inapplicable and to stick to Middle English. Our question should be, not is farming efficient, but is it husbandry? If the husbandry is good, then, and then only, will it be efficient.