Agriculture is losing producers. No one will argue that point, but larger, more efficient producers are replacing those lost in this highly competitive industry.
While this is not necessarily a desirable trend, it is one that has continued for decades – maybe since the beginning of this noble profession. That said, it is also a trend that is not confined to agriculture but has affected nearly every sector of the U.S. and world economies.
Regardless of this ongoing change, care for the land continues to improve. Today’s farmers are increasing the amount of organic matter in their soil. With the advent of no-till and reduced tillage farming, farmers continue to build organic matter and improve the soil. There is no reason to believe this practice will be discontinued.
Today’s modern farmer is not exhausting the land. Just the opposite is true.
Without question scarce water is always a concern, especially in Midwestern states where rainfall is limited. Farmers constantly chart rainfall amounts and monitor weather conditions.
In Kansas, agricultural producers are aware of changes in the Ogallala Aquifer. They understand the navigable waters issue because of its wide-ranging impact on farmland and farming. They understand the importance of clean water and have long supported the need for clear jurisdictional lines and a common-sense approach to wetlands.
Farmers are very much tuned into water conservation. But agriculture has its naysayers.
Some are concerned about the potential of long-term climate change and its impact on food production.
Others believe crop yields will not keep up with population growth.
There is nothing to suggest yields will not keep up with population growth.
Even countries with marginal soil and more severe climates than our own are growing crops today. We have better yield potential and better food value today and with new genetics and technologies coming on line, there is no reason to believe the world won’t be able to feed itself in the future.
The United States farmer and rancher can compete with other nations, if they aren’t shackled by government regulations that cause production costs to soar.
Even the most efficient farmers in America can’t make it with regulatory restrictions. Any regulations must be science based and uniform across the board for producers around the world.
If there is equal opportunity for everyone, where all producers have the same health and safety restrictions, U.S. agriculture will compete. Give farmers and ranchers the same opportunity, as others around the world and bountiful, wholesome food will continue.
Winston Churchill said many years ago, “Give us the tools and we will get the job done.” The same can be said for agriculture in this country.
John Schlageck is a leading commentator on agriculture and rural Kansas. Born and raised on a diversified farm in northwestern Kansas, his writing reflects a lifetime of experience, knowledge and passion