I was recently asked to write a one page essay on my personal outlook on the future of agriculture and here’s what I said…
Now that’s a question that could be answered in one line, “It depends on which day of the week you ask.”
Agriculture probably provides the greatest fluctuation from optimism to pessimism than any other industry on the face of the earth. From markets, to weather, to legislative issues, to just plain ol’ hard work, (and the list could go on and on) we are constantly faced with daily changes and challenges. One thing, which no one could argue with, is that agriculture and her people are resilient. We’ve always handled the ups and downs, maybe with an ounce of doubt, but never with a second guess that what we do is exactly what GOD himself intended for us to do! We believe that is true down to our core. And furthermore, nothing or no one is ever going to change that!
To answer the question, the future of agriculture is guaranteed to be successful because, bottom line, people like to eat. The more important question should be, “What is the future of AMERICAN agriculture?” I would say that the answer to that question can be summed up in one word… challenging.
For many years, dare I say ‘centuries’, the only obstacles that the American farmer was faced with was, “Can I produce a crop and can I get enough for it?” For the most part, that was it.
Today, we are not only faced with those age old issues but we are also faced with obstacles that my granddad, even my dad, would never have dreamed of. Fifty years ago, even twenty-five years ago, if you would have walked up to my granddad and told him that if he was going to stay in agriculture, there is going to come a day when the majority of people in this country looked at him as a second rate citizen because he was, ‘Just a farmer.’ If you would have told him that there was going to come a day when those of us in agriculture would have to hire lobbyist at the state and national levels of our government just to defend our right to produce the food and fiber that feed and clothe those who fight against us, I can guarantee you that he would have told you that you were insane. His response would probably have even been laced with a few adjectives to make sure you understood how crazy you were! He might have even told you that you would NEVER see a day like that in this country and the American people would NEVER forget where their food comes from and the American people would NEVER forget to take care of those of us who feed and clothe not only this country but countries all over the world!
The sad reality is that we are living in that day. The challenges that we face go one step farther, they extend beyond our own borders. Those challenges extend continents. We face an ever growing, ever changing, ever challenging future. On some days it even looks bleak. But no one should ever doubt that the future of American agriculture is strong because, after all…