The embodiment of a true American, these men and women don’t know a five o’clock quitting time, but rather a day end as darkness falls – and sometimes not even then.
With farming in my blood, it’s hard not to feel a connection with this extraordinary class of people. Growing up on a farm in Minnesota, I’ve witnessed the remarkable accomplishments of the agriculture industry. For example, when I was younger, I would spend the majority of my early summers on a cultivator. Now, with developments from seed genetics to spraying advancements to machinery technology, cultivating is nearly non-existent.
Machinery has advanced to a level my grandfather would never believe. Global positioning has made the process extremely efficient, saving a farmer both time and money.
We’re also growing nearly double the amount of corn on the same acre than we were even 30 years ago. And that number will only increase. With predictions to double corn yield to 300 bushels per acre in the next 20 years, there will be a surplus in supply with the capacity to both feed AND fuel the world. In fact, even with food demand increasing by 40 percent, the corn supply will be able to support the production of 50 billion gallons of ethanol by 2030.
But as the agriculture industry continues to become more efficient and environmentally friendly, they are the ones taking the heat from phony studies. They are battered by the media on issues from indirect land use to carbon emissions of diesel fuel to water usage; studies that blame them for elements beyond their control. And my friends, as an industry that battles the unpredictable daily, it’s unfair for them to take the blame rightfully owed to their opposition.
While the agriculture industry continues to battle the misconceptions, they are also taking the next step. With the future of energy riding on their shoulders, I have no doubt that the American farmer will again surpass all expectations and carry our country into the next generation, bringing with them not only a well nourished nation, but one also significantly less dependent on foreign oil.