By John Schlageck
Farmers and ranchers are under increasing pressure to produce more food to feed the world while improving their stewardship of critical land and water resources.
Today’s farmers are increasing the amount of organic matter in the soil. With no-till and reduced tillage farming, farmers continue to build organic matter and improve the soil tilth.
Today’s modern farmer is not exhausting the land. Just the opposite is true.
Without question, scarce water is always a concern, especially in Midwestern states where rainfall is limited and people use plenty of it. Farmers constantly chart rainfall amounts and monitor weather conditions.
At the same time, the world’s population is exploding. Some say the greatest growth in the history of our world is underway.
The current world population of 7.3 billion is expected to reach 8.5 billion by 2030, 9.7 billion by 2050 and 11.2 billion in 2100. Most of these people will be born in parts of the world with less capacity for agricultural production.
As a result, pressure on the world’s natural resources for food production will become intense. This demand for food will mean opportunity for farming and ranching, and there is nothing to suggest yields will not keep up with population growth. Even countries with marginal soil and more severe climates than our own are growing crops today. We have better yield potential and greater food value today than ever before. With new genetics and technologies coming on line, there is no reason to believe the world won’t be able to feed itself in the future.
American agriculture is up to the task. This country can continue producing food for the world. U.S. farmers and ranchers can compete with other nations if they aren’t shackled by government regulations that cause production costs to soar and trade tariffs that continue to push some out of business.
Winston Churchill said many years ago, “Give us the tools and we will get the job done.” The same can be said today for agriculture in this country.
John Schlageck is a leading commentator on agriculture and rural Kansas. Born and raised on a diversified farm in northwestern Kansas, his writing reflects a lifetime of experience, knowledge and passion.