Farm Bureau memberships help advocate for agriculture – Sept. 2012

The September edition of Wyoming Agriculture has traditionally been our membership edition because this is the beginning of the membership renewal process for our 12,000 plus members.  We also want to remind our current members their membership dues have helped accomplish a great deal to protect food production.

This year, just about every day, there is some news story about how the drought is affecting this nation, from barge traffic on the Mississippi River having to reduce their loads by 25 percent because of decreased water levels, to what the impact on food prices will be in the future because of the drought.  All of it points out that even with our technological advancements; Mother Nature can still reach out and touch all of us in some way.

Fortunately, agricultural producers have adopted technological advancements that will provide a bigger  cushion than we would have had 150 years ago.  A drought in the U.S. has considerably less human impact than a drought in a third world country.  Perhaps one of the most important tools we have developed is the system of dams and reservoirs throughout the West.  Agricultural producers in Wyoming have had and will continue to have significant impacts from the drought, but our stored water has helped mitigate the impact.  We are now seeing some of our Eastern folks start to recognize the necessity to plan for droughts.

Of course in all of this there are the groups who latch onto these drought pronouncements for their own particular political agenda.  One which caught my eye was an environmental group announcing that we in agriculture are to blame for the drought because we short circuited Congressional efforts to regulate carbon dioxide.  This is a philosophical difference that will always be around between people who feel nothing can be done properly without a government regulation somewhere.

Another issue that has also struck me about some of these comments is the lack of consistency.  A  couple of years ago when some areas were experiencing record cold and snow the comments were coming out about how we couldn’t judge a short term, one season weather event as proof that man induced climate change isn’t real.  Now that we’ve had a drought with its accompanying hot weather we are told that this summer’s events are proof that man induced climate change is real. 

In the world of political theater, consistency is often the first casualty.

But, through all of this, agricultural producers continue to grow the food while providing stable communities in the rural areas in which they live. 

Increased crop yields with fewer inputs have raised the productivity of each acre of land.  Greater meat production per pound of forage consumed has also increased significantly over the last several decades.

The “green revolution” continues to pay dividends, not only with lower food prices, but with fewer inputs per acre or per pound.  We need to continue these advancements to ensure that the next generation doesn’t have to worry about whether or not food will even be available.

All of this doesn’t come without some effort.  Thanks to folks who support Farm Bureau through their membership dues, we can continue to advocate for this most essential of all endeavors.

By Ken Hamilton, Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation Executive Vice President

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