Like father like son? Not so fast. Howard Buffett warns the Gates Foundation approach to farming is unsustainable.

Warren Buffett’s Son Disagrees With Bill Gates

December 12, 2011, 8:21 AM ET

http://blogs.wsj.com/deals/2011/12/12/warren-buffetts-son-disagrees-with-bill-gates/

By Shira Ovide

Deal Journal already brought you some of the juicy tidbits from Howard Buffett’s interview last night on “60 Minutes.” But we were struck last night by the revelation of philosophical disagreements between Warren Buffett’s son and Bill Gates, the Microsoft co-founder and Warren Buffett’s close buddy.

Howard Buffett has plowed some of his Buffett fortune into promoting sustainable farming techniques in poor countries. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation — which has been handed $31 billion of Warren Buffett’s money — has turned its considerable charitable funds to help poor farmers in Africa. Howard Buffett thinks some of the Gates Foundation’s approach is doomed to fail, he told “60 Minutes.”

Buffett says the Gates Foundation approach is to focus on high-tech farming techniques including hybrid seeds and synthetic fertilizers that aren’t sustainable in poor countries. “We need to quit thinking about trying to do it like we do it in America,” Howard Buffett said about the farming programs underway at the Gates . “At some point those guys are going to go home and the money going to not be there.”

“I’m not saying it’s all wrong,” Howard Buffett said. “Bill Gates is the smartest guy in the world, next to my dad.”

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