Letter of the Day (Sept. 30): Agriculture

  • Updated: September 29, 2012 - 6:00 PM

There's more to the story of why agriculture is changing.


Photo: Lee Hulteng, MCT/Grand Forks Herald

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The recent article on the vanishing prairie failed to take into account the rising population, the demands on agriculture production it creates and the finite land available to farm ("Plowing away the prairie, at a price," Sept. 23).

In 1960, the world population totaled 3.04 billion. Today, it is more than double that -- estimated at 6.97 billion and rising. Minnesota mirrors this trend at 5.38 million people, almost double since 1960. Despite the fact that the number of farmers has decreased, we have adapted to keep up with the demand for our No. 1 product: food.

In 1960, one U.S. farmer fed 46 people; today, that same farmer feeds 155. As the population increases, native prairie lands have decreased, but so have the acres on which we are able to grow crops.

For one thing, the unavoidable urban sprawl due to the continuous population increase has a direct effect and has transformed the landscape of the Upper Midwest and the available land to grow food. It's unavoidable that farming will impact our land and the environment, but new innovations help us minimize that impact. That lets the 2 percent of those still farming in our country to grow food, fuel and fiber for the world the best they can with what we have available.

As farmers, we're working to balance the need for our land to be more productive, while remaining as environmentally friendly as possible. We care about the long-term viability of our land. It's in our best interest, as well as our children's, to do so.


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