The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has just released its latest National Resources Inventory. The document is a report card of sorts that gives us a look at how we are doing in regard to managing and caring for non-public lands including farms and ranches.
According to farm leaders like Bob Stallman if you look at the NRI environmental report in conjunction with USDA’s productivity figures you get a compelling picture of an American success story. The shrinking environmental footprint of farmers who produce our food and fiber is remarkable, and even more so when you look at the accompanying increases in productivity.
The latest data basically gives farmer documentation for what we already knew…growers are doing more with less; Less land, less water, less crop inputs from pesticides to fertilizer, and all the while getting gonzo increases in productivity of crops like corn.
This was the very reason corn growers created the Corn Farmers Coalition (CFC) last year; to bridge the large gap between what consumers don’t know or think they know and the reality of modern, innovative farming. In the case of CFC the idea was to start small by educating decision leaders in Washington, DC because of the enormous impact Congress and other federal agencies can have on farmers either legislatively or through regulation.
It is sad how few people outside of farming understand this achievement. In fact some very vocal elitist minorities in our society want us to divert from the progress-lined path that has made U.S. agriculture such a marvel. The good news is the start made by CFC is now part of a larger fabric of educational efforts underway from Monsanto’s Thank a Farmer to The Hand That Feeds Us campaign.
Today’s farm families are making a difference in one of the most fundamental and important professions on the planet…growing crops to convert the sun’s energy to calories. Including calories for food to sustain our bodies, calories to feed livestock, calories like ethanol to drive our cars, and the list goes on.
Now NRCS gives us a well-deserved “A” on our environmental report card. This is a story worth telling, especially given the misleading information being spewed by some agenda driven groups. So, look for opportunities to speak up for your farm; Do it locally, tell your story online through social media, tell your elected officials. We all have a vested interest in getting this right.