Forward: This post is hypothetical and meant to provoke thoughts and solutions. Please do share thoughts via the comment section below.
The past few days, I have had a headache. My mom always says I get stressed out too easily and that causes them. Well, this time, I agree.
|Image courtesy of Getty Images|
You may have heard on the news about the toxic algae levels in Lake Erie that caused Toledo, Ohio to issue a ban on drinking tap water (article by The Weather Channel). This is devastating. Not only did this impact my family, who is only 20 miles from Toledo city limits, but it created struggle for 400,000 city residents.
The water looks disgusting. I’m sure it can’t taste any better either. Growing up, my parents always expressed how dirty the lake was and that some other local water sources like the Maumee River weren’t much better. I never had to worry because we had a well for water–until a few years ago. We joined “the general population” with city water. Going to college and now living in Fort Wayne, Ind., it never phased me that drinking tap water could be harmful. However, I have found there is something more threatening than the risk of poisoned water.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that agriculture hasn’t added to higher phosphorus levels in the lake. However, it is not the only contributor. What wears me down most is the buzz around sustainability and how current technology and agriculture practices are not improving. I call bologna on that! It isn’t that nothing has improved. No one has noticed it. Farmers and ranchers have made many changes over the decades to improve production standards and practices.
|Image from CropLife America.|
What if these farmers and ranchers stopped fighting and gave up?
What if agriculturalists stopped trying new production techniques and instead, kept doing what they have done for years and years and what their parents, grandparents and way before that did? What if they didn’t change their mindsets or ways of thinking? What if we were heartless beings, with no care or passion for people, animals or the environment?
What if, because farmers were so disgusted with government regulations, public perception and a general disregard for their needs, they just quit? Then what?
If we don’t want the people who feed us and clothe us to quit on us, how can we help them? How can we work together and make things better? How can we stop bickering about which methods are “sustainable” and which ones are “too modernized”? Agriculture needs to be on the same side. The general public has to understand our methods too. How?
I hope you understand why this gives me stress and a headache. It’s because I am passionate about it. I hope you will share in my passion.