The Agriculture Council of America (ACA) is the organization behind National Ag Day. I’d like to thank them for the effort they make “to increase the public’s awareness of agriculture’s role in modern society.”
Clearly, our society is in need of more awareness of agriculture’s role. Have you noticed our presidential candidates have barely mentioned agriculture in their debates and campaigns?
I would heartily encourage you to engage today and this week in Ag Day/Ag Week activities. On the ACA website, there are information and tools available for helping ourselves and those around us understand many of agriculture’s impacts on our society and our communities. ACA sponsors are dominated by large corporations and conventional farming related organizations; and at first blush, much of this information is focused on making sure our society understands the contributions of agriculture in terms of a safe, affordable food supply. But ACA doesn’t stop there, and its good to see!
The ACA website includes resources and references representative of a broad spectrum of agricultural genres. Yes, there are even some resources connected to the agroecological impact of agriculture. This is heartening to see. Food production, and its affordability is obviously a very important contribution of US Agriculture, one that should be celebrated. But too often, in an attempt “to share a positive story about agriculture,” advocates can miss other great contributions agriculture can make.
Agroecology, or the promotion of soil health building practices, has the potential to feed our growing global population, mitigate climate change, raise profits for farmers, and reduce our farm economy’s reliance on government support for success. How fitting is it then that the 2016 theme for National Ag Day is “Agriculture: Stewards of a Healthy Planet?” I know some who read this will ask, “Is the planet still healthy?” It depends on who you talk to, but one thing for sure, our planet’s ecosystem does contain the ability to heal itself under the right management, and for that reason, I think it can still be considered healthy.
But the stewardship question is still undecided. Will farmers move further on the Sustainability Continuum, toward a focus on healthy soil, or will we remain focused on the greatest output at all costs? Its up to the next generation of farmers. Some of those farmers are SFA members today and are growing in knowledge about soil health and its implications for production, animal health, soil health, profitability and changing our world’s food for the better.
In honor of Ag Day, would you consider making a donation to SFA? Over the next several years, one of our goals is to bring all of agriculture together, keeping us focused on developing and remaining good stewards of a strong, resilient, healthy planet. Your contribution today would make a big different in our ability to carry out this important educational mission. Thanks so much.