Farmers are often the target of radical environmentalists who try to perpetuate the myth that farmers have absolutely no concern for the land and only see it as a means to make money. Of course nothing could be further from the truth.
Since such negative propaganda can have a detrimental impact on the agricultural industry in general, and farmers in particular, it is important that these misrepresentations are not allowed to go unchallenged. What follows are some facts that can be used to clearly and correctly contradict the inaccuracies promoted by many radical environmentalists:
- As landowners, farmers have helped to install more than two million miles of conservation buffers. These buffers not only improve air, soil, and water quality, they also provide wildlife habitats.
- Speaking of wildlife habitats, more than 50 percent of American farmers say they intentionally provide habitat for wildlife. Such measures have led to population increases for species including deer, fowl, and moose.
- Crop rotation has long been – and continues to be – one important way farmers take care of the land they grow crops on.
- Conversation tillage has grown by almost 50 percent in the past 30 years. This method of farming reduces erosion and also uses less energy. On a related note, total land used for crops overall has decreased by 15 percent in the same time period.
- Farmers are adopting – at many times at a much faster rate than the general population – alternative energy sources. These include wind power and renewable fuels like ethanol and biodiesel. Such energy sources are beneficial to the environment as they leave a smaller environmental footprint than other petroleum-based fuels.
Obviously, farmers list protecting the land on which they make their living as one of their most important priorities. After all, why would they want to destroy the very thing that sustains their livelihood? It would be well for critics of farmers to remember that long before “environmentalism” came into vogue farmers were the original stewards of the land. Further, since the early 1930s federal farm programs have included provisions to help farmers protect wetlands and other delicate land.
It is important that farmers and those who support them have the ammunition to fight off farming’s many critics. Especially since these critics only seem to be interested in disparaging honest farmers who work long and hard to not only protect the land but also provide our nation’s abundant, safe, and nutritious food supply.