What is agriculture's future?

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“I believe in the future of agriculture, with a faith born not of words but of deeds - achievements won by the present and past generations of agriculturists.”

The FFA creed is what comes to mind when I think about the future of agriculture. Agriculture is an industry that is about innovation, while maintaining the beliefs we have always had.

”I believe that to live and work on a good farm, or to be engaged in other agricultural pursuits, is pleasant as well as challenging; for I know the joys and discomforts of agricultural life and hold an inborn fondness for those associations which, even in hours of discouragement, I cannot deny.”

I was the creed speaker for my FFA chapter when I was a freshman in high school. I did not have such a strong feeling for these words as I do now. I believe that the paragraph above is true, because I have experienced the ups and downs that are part of being an agriculturist. 

A few years ago I thought the future of agriculture would rely on the farmers and the workers who are in the agricultural field. As I get older, I realize that the future of agriculture is not even up to the consumer. The changes we face are enforced by people who do not even work in the agriculture industry. We see animal activist organizations making all the industry’s big decisions. Agriculture, especially animal agriculture, is in a tough spot. We are dealing with an animal that has certain needs.

Only time will tell what the future holds for agriculture and I, for one, am very interested to see what happens in the years to come.

What is your opinion? What do you think will happen?

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Mark Varner    
Maryland  |  September, 11, 2013 at 08:54 AM

Please remember that one of those changes enforced by others is FFA dropping the word 'farmer' from the title of their organization. I'm a former FFA member and officer, and know those phrases by heart. The future is what we make it, and if we're not involved ourselves in making the future better, then others make the future for us.

Wm F. Tooley    
South Dakota  |  September, 11, 2013 at 11:11 AM

Your cry for help resonates strongly: "We see animal activist organizations making all the industry’s big decisions. Agriculture, especially animal agriculture, is in a tough spot." You are correct! Unfortunately we have opened ourselves up to attack by not over-coming simple things that tarnish the image of agriculture - and leave livestock agriculture open to attack. Let's take one example: ODOR CONTROL! This was a very big issue 10-15 years ago. Now we seem to have walked away from it. Is it still important? Yes! It is important for our pigs who are under gas and odor stress in the barn and don't perform well. It is important for our producers and their families and neighbors who incur health risks and reduced quality of life from odor and gas. No one deserves to live that way - and they don't have to anymore. But odor is even more important because stinky pig barns create an image of people who don't care or are incapable of doing anything about it. Actually odor control is very easy today - and it is more profitable than stink. A recently completed USDA-CIG demonstration showed eliminating odor at livestock facilities is completely feasible and more profitable than not controlling odor. There is much more to this, expecially improved human and animal welfare. We must choose to improve out practices and our image, or we will loose out to those who with to exploit and attach agriculture.


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