The news is buzzing with the election of Donald Trump and speculation of who he will pick to head the major agencies in our government.
Some folks are concerned about his proposed pick for EPA as not being on board with global warming. They feel what progress has been made will be lost with a pick who is not on board with their agendas.
While I can agree a good administrator at the helm of the EPA is important, I feel that protecting our planet starts at the local level. I don’t need some government agency to tell me to protect my soil, air and water.
However, I'm reminded often of the reaction you get from many people when talking about protecting our most valuable resources. They have an attitude that we can’t have it both ways. It has to be an either-or situation: We can’t have water quality and feed the world. We can’t continue having large yields of crops such as corn and soybeans without using fertilizer and herbicides. We can’t have clean air and continue to burn fossil fuels.
These types of statements are proven false every day by pioneers and innovators throughout this country, in different locations, and all over the world. Gabe Brown of North Dakota has gone into unchartered territory with his gains in soil health. He has proven time and again that yields equal to or higher than those in conventional farming can be achieved with very little added inputs. Others have used the same soil health principles Brown has used in many environments and soil types with similar results.
Producers such as Will Harris in Georgia and Joel Salatin in Virginia prove that diversified, animal-based operations can be operated on a large scale, producing much more per acre then conventional agriculture.
I am reminded of the story of Elon Musk, founder of Tesla Motors. Musk is an innovator beyond our time. Once he sets a goal, nothing can get in the way of its achievement. First it was an affordable, reliable electric car. When he couldn’t find a place that could produce the batteries needed for his cars, he built his own plant!! His next venture is to inhabit Mars in the near future. I use him as an example to show that the mind and imagination coupled with hard work have no barriers.
The only thing missing to solve the problems or challenges in this world is the decision. Once the decision is made the rest comes in line. If the agriculture community decided that they could produce high yields with very limited inputs, that’s what they would do. If they decided that all impaired water bodies would be pristine in the next 10 years, they would do what is needed to make it happen. No government or regulatory agency or law can get in the way of the decision to make something happen.
There are some major challenges to meet in the next few years in our industry. A new president, new regulations, low prices and an uncertain future. There are no greater innovators in the world than right here in our country and in our agricultural community. It might take a different line of thinking and a greater degree of management than we have done in the past, but I have no doubt about the odds if the decision is made to succeed. We can do it!