October 3, 2023
As we roll up on National Farmers Day on Oct. 12, I think we all know just how much sits on the shoulders of our nation’s farmers.
We also know that the world outside of the ag industry has a worrisome detachment regarding where their food comes from - they either don’t care, have no idea how much goes into getting their food to the table or are poorly informed about the effort to produce that food.
The producers that provide a safe, sustainable and secure food supply, not only produce the food and fiber for us all, but they also provide jobs and stimulate communities.
At local field days, they share how varieties and cropping practices are working on their operations and spreading that knowledge throughout the ag environment.
In the last few weeks, I’ve seen some of those producers speaking at the United Nations and addressing Congress. They are exchanging ideas about plant genetics, financial viability and artificial general intelligence.
Congress is currently developing the next farm bill and the industry is abuzz as everyone involved is looking to have their own input. Farmers face the daunting task of sharing how important it is to have a workable bill to a crowd that is often stricken with their own agenda and posturing.
Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) has submitted his perennial proposal to limit how much farmers can receive from the government. House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member David Scott (D-GA) has called out the Republicans’ budget resolution for shortchanging the farm bill, focusing on tax cuts for the rich, and undermining the bipartisan work that is done in the House Agriculture Committee. While on the Republican side, far-right members of that party threaten to derail the bill because of concessions made with Democrats and the Biden administration.
If that’s not enough, the EPA is rewriting rules for the use of crop protection tools and use of American waterways. Increasing land values are putting farm ownership out of the hands of small and entry level farmers and interest rates have climbed in the last several years. Equipment costs have risen and environmental initiatives have added yet another level of burden upon the farmer.
And yet, as formidable as it all seems, farmers are some of the most optimistic people I know - always looking to the future, the next crop, their best yield.
My farmer friends are smiling on gymnasium courts with their accomplished children or proudly showing their grandkids how to drive combines. They are helping to harvest their neighbor’s corn due to downed equipment or illness.
Harvest time brings out communities for festivals, barbecues, and well, bringing in the crop.
I am proud to be part of this ag community and its innovation, spirit and hard work.
Thank you to the farmers who cover a spectrum of needs for us. Happy National Farmers Day.
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