Huffington Post columnist Donald Carr has decided that farmers – the people that suffer the greatest from the drought and intense heat – are the same group of people that hope to make the situation worse.
In his recent column – which you can read here http://www.huffingtonpost.com/donald-carr/droughtstricken-farmers-p_b_1729235.html, Carr blames farmers and agriculture organizations for stopping climate change legislation and failing to act on what he believes are changing environmental conditions resulting solely from man’s actions.
Now I’m going to go out on a limb and take a wild guess that this young man has never actually been to a farm to see how a traditional, family-owned farm works. The mere fact that he believes there are “industrial agriculture” lobbies tells me he’s not in touch with today’s agriculture industry. Last time I checked, 98 percent of America’s farms were owned and operated by families. He also believes that farmers have found a get-rich-quick scheme by plowing land unsuitable for farming and college crop insurance checks when they fail to produce a crop. The accusations that farmers can plow land and make money are simply not true. Crop insurance is a major input cost for all farmers and the decision to insure our farmland is one that is not taken lightly. We need a reliable safety net that allows us to continue to fight through years like this, where conditions do not allow us to produce food at our normal levels. Without that net, millions of farmers would be put out of business through climate conditions and impacts – such as hail, tornados and fire – that cannot be prevented with any amount of legislation. I could go on, but I’ll get back to my point.
The truth is, farmers were and continue to be the original environmentalist. They care for the land, the water and the air that they need to produce food, fuel and fiber. It’s not only the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do for a successful farming business. Farmers like my husband and father-in-law constantly search for ways to make their farm more environmentally friendly and efficient. It in our best interest to preserve our farm for future years and future generation. We have no desire to harm the land or the planet.
In fact, here are a few changes we’ve made to help reduce our carbon footprint:
1- We have changed our chemical application process to reduce run-off and overall use of herbicides in our field.
2- We’ve reduced the over-the-road travel of our tractors and water trucks by storing various pieces of equipment in different parts of our farm to make the trips to the field shorter – thereby using less gas.
3- Through the addition of sub-surface drip irrigation to our fields, we’ve added new, more efficient motors to pump the water. The new irrigation system also reduces our water usage.
These are just a few examples of our efforts to reduce our impact on the environment. There are several more but I believe I’ve made my point.
Farmers are not opposed to making their methods and industry more environmentally friendly. We make that effort every day. We are, however, opposed to one-size-fits-all cap-and-trade legislation that would severely impact our industry and way of life. Proposed legislation would make it impossible for us to continue our business and would bury us in a mountain of paperwork and fees. Those fees and the cost of dramatically changing our business model would be pass along to consumers in the former of higher food, fiber and fuel costs.
Decades of weather records have proven that climate and weather patterns are always changing, delivering both helpful and harmful conditions. Weather is a way of life and has and will continue to change. Farmers do everything they can to be good stewards of the land and will continue to be passionate about preserving their land, water and natural resources. We are not the cause, but we are always happy to be part of the solution.