From Rebecca Colnar
Montana Farm Bureau Federation
With Earth Day celebrated on April 22, people around the globe have voiced their appreciation for the planet and talk about plans to keep the planet vibrant and healthy.
“Certainly every day is Earth Day for farmers and ranchers who spend most of their time out in Mother Nature, whether they are growing crops or managing the range,” notes Montana Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Hanson. “We live on an amazing, bountiful planet, and it’s rewarding to work with people in agriculture who take stewardship of the land seriously.
Hanson points out that while farm and ranch productivity has increased dramatically since 1950, the use of resources (labor, seeds, feed, fertilizer, etc.) required for production has declined markedly. “Since 1982, U.S. lands used for crops has declined by 70 million acres. Better still, 63 percent of the land being planted today uses conservation tillage which reduces soil erosion, compared to 17 percent in 1982. There has been a 50 percent decline in erosion in the past 30 years.
Modern production tools such as global positioning satellites, biotechnology, conservation tillage and integrated pest management enhance farm and ranch productivity while reducing the environmental footprint.
“Given how well agriculturalists are caring for the land and the degree agriculture’s environmental footprint is shrinking, every American should be concerned about the regulatory overreach of the Environmental Protection Agency,” Hanson says. “There’s a fine line between farmers and ranchers protecting the environment, and the government limiting the ability of folks in agriculture to produce food for the world while claiming it is for a better Earth.”
“Shortly after Earth Day 2010, the Agriculture Department’s Natural Resources Conservation Service released the latest National Resources Inventory. Through empirical data, the NRI shows that America’s farmers and ranchers care for the land, and through their actions the environment has continually improved over the past 50 years, while at the same time farm and ranch productivity has dramatically increased,” says Hanson. “On Earth Day, let’s not only marvel at Planet Earth, but let’s show appreciation to our farmers and ranchers about how they care for the country and will continue to do so long after this year’s Earth Day celebration is over.”
Published April 25, 2012