Agriculture and politics
I remember when I was a reporter for Agweek magazine, and someone would ask me where I went to college. I would tell them that I went to the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks. Then they would ask me what was my major. I told them it was political science, and they would look at me like I was crazy.
Then they would ask, “What is a political science major doing writing about agriculture?”
Obviously, those people didn’t know much about agriculture because as we all know politics is impacted heavily by local, state and the federal government. So, I would have to explain to them that from local weed and water boards to the state legislature — which here in Colorado loves to stick its nose into the ag business — and then there is the federal government that, depending on which party controls it, can be good or bad for the ag industry.
Politics also plays a role in the import and export markets for our ag commodities. Closer to home, politics has been known to control and mess us the shipping of livestock across the U.S., not to mention moving of our crops by barge or rail.
Most recently the government is even more involved in the ag industry trying to control how we produce crops and grow livestock. Many of these attempts have been a pain in the you know what.
From trying to reduce greenhouse gases by giving cows feed that keeps them from burping to keeping farmers from growing crops on land that is a considered a wetland because it holds water in only very wet years.
Once I explain this to non-ag people, most of them have a greater appreciation for farmers and ranchers, especially those who also are in jobs where they must deal with government red tape.
One couple told me that they would never look at a field of corn or a herd of cattle the same again and appreciated all the went into those endeavors.
Unfortunately for farmers and ranchers the government oversight and overreach are not going to subside. In this age of climate change, they are going to be put under a microscope and poked and prodded until they eventually throw up their hands and cry uncle.
We all need to continue to pray for a sea change where common sense, science — not influenced by politics — and the need to feed the world determine the future of agriculture.
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