If you want a dose of reality about the environmental push against food production, look no further Greenpeace’s ranting at http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/news/green-living-guide/on-your-plate.  They also have an extensive report available targeting agriculture’s role in greenhouse emissions in Europe.  As I review this and other reports of how modern day farming is poisoning the land in mass media, I always have to pause to consider how we can do a better job in explaining agriculture’s concern for the environment.

Try these on for size – some quick facts can be very effective in a coffee shop or church conversation. The majority are from www.farmpolicyfacts.org, many sourced from USDA.

  • Agricultural land offers habitat for 75% of the nation’s wildlife.
  • There are 6.5 billion people on the planet, expected to grow to 8 billion by 2025.  Today’s farmer provides food and fiber for 144 people, up from just 19 people in 1940.  It doesn’t take a scientist to figure that more efficient production results in less global usage of land.
  • Due to lower production, organics actually use more land mass than conventionally raised food.
  • Plants require fertilizer to grow – see the facts at www.nutrientsforlife.org. Fertilizers are are extremely expensive, so beyond the environmental logic of not over applying, farmers aren’t interested in putting more on than what’s necessary.
  • Farmers live, work and raise their family on the same land from which your food is produced.  In order to sustain the land for future generations, farmers have and continue to protect their natural resources.
  • As noted at www.pestfacts.org, we share our environment with pests.  Insects, weeds and other pathogens cause damage, disease and destruction.  USDA and FDA approved pesticides allow food to be produced and presented in the best way possible.

All of the excitement about Earth Day offers you the perfect chance to introduce the first environmentalist – those that are working diligently to get our crops in the ground right now to feed and fuel our world.   After all, Greenpeace is happy to toot their horn, so let’s make it a complete ensemble and include the music of agriculture in the Earth Day Celebration.

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