For the past four decades, an annual event called Earth Day has been held in late April across the U.S., which has been a time for all citizens to reflect on our country’s environmental resources, and what we can do individually and as communities to help enhance our environment for the next generation. In recent years, it has become fashionable to point the finger of blame at agriculture and farmers for many environmental issues. However, in reality farmers have been some of the best environmental stewards in the U.S. in the past couple of decades. This has been accomplished with a relatively small investment of federal tax dollars.
Consider the following environmental facts about U.S. agriculture:
Following is some data from the National Corn Growers Association:
There is still a lot to be accomplished to manage potential water quality, global warming and other environmental issues; however, we can rest assured that the agriculture industry will do its part to find solutions. Much of the recent environmental focus related to agriculture has been on improving water quality through reductions in soil erosion and agricultural runoff, including extreme measures that would greatly restrict agricultural drainage. Properly designed ag drainage and tiling systems are critical to maintaining optimum productivity on much of the nation’s highest quality farmland, so the key is to find a proper balance between the goals and objectives of all parties that are involved. Agriculture research and science will continue to look at new and innovative ways to better manage nutrients and reduce soil erosion, while enhancing production to feed an ever-increasing world population.
Editor’s note: Kent Thiesse is a former University of Minnesota Extension educator and now is Vice President of MinnStar Bank, Lake Crystal, MN. You can contact him at 507-726-2137 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.