By Mike Barnett
Innovation. Foresight. Technology. Know-how. It took equal parts to put a man on the moon. It takes equal parts to put food on your table.
A challenge that has never been shirked by the American farmer. It’s not easy feeding 321 million Americans three squares 365. At a cost that continues to rise, but by no means breaks the budget. And have enough left over to feed millions more.
It’s an immense test. And responsibility. Because failure means food insecurity. And a hungry nation.
Innovation is key. The demand on resources is tremendous. Soil is expected to grow more. With fewer nutrients. Stretching limited water resources. And keeping the land productive for the next generation.
Foresight to deal with the growing burden of government regulations. To repay the banker when prices are low. Strategies to keep the farm afloat when times are tough. To put seed into the ground next year.
Technology is key. Advances in genetics. New methods to protect the soil. More efficient irrigation systems. Using computers and satellites for precise application. So each plant gets exactly what it needs. To produce the best yields with the fewest resources.
Know-how. To deal with risk. From the moment the seed goes into the ground. Until it’s harvested. To fight disease. Insects. Deal with Mother Nature. A never-ending challenge aided by science. But learned through experience.
And it has to be profitable to keep families on the land. Because not everyone can grow food and fiber. It takes only a few good men. And women. Only two percent of the nation, in fact.
So the rest of us can do our part in keeping America great.