During the last couple
of decades, some environmental groups have been less than kind to agriculture.
They have bombarded the public with figures on soil loss, pesticide-related
mishaps and alleged failed attempts at using herbicides and other crop
protectors. Their figures are oftentimes unverifiable.
is often labeled as the No. 1 environmental enemy by some of these groups. Food
producers – farmers and ranchers – view technology as the application of
knowledge. As humans, we survive by adapting the environment to our needs.
technology and humans would be just like other primates – confined to tropical
regions and subject to extinction due to environmental changes. To survive,
mankind has changed his environment while conserving resources and continually
creating new ones.
are made not born. Land, ores, petroleum – the raw materials of our planet – do
not inherently further human purposes.
determines what is useful and how to use it. Topsoil becomes a resource when a
farmer prepares the soil and plants wheat seed, for example. Ores become
resources when metals are extracted from them.
past two centuries, technology has been creating resources more rapidly than
humans have been consuming them. By every measure of price and availability,
resources have become more abundant.
science and technology today’s farmers and ranchers would be unable to feed the
masses. Farmers use technology responsibly and adopt new farming methods and
practices by attending training sessions and courses.
farm technology is expensive. It is in the best interest of farmers to use it
carefully and sparingly. Misuse would add to the cost of production, which
would result in an even lower return on their investment.
agricultural chemicals only when necessary. When they use chemicals, farmers
follow label directions designed for public health and safety. When a rancher
uses antibiotics and other animal health products for their stock, they follow
proper drug use practices. When new advances in biotechnology are discovered,
farmers must abide by stringent testing and monitoring practices that ensure
only safe products in the marketplace.
produced in the United States is safe. More than four decades of Food
and Drug Administration testing has shown the majority of our fruits and
vegetables have no detectable pesticide residues. This underscores that
American farmers use pesticides properly. Our grain and cereal crops are among
the cleanest and most wholesome in the world.
laws help ensure our food is safe. Billions of dollars are spent to support
food and agricultural safety and quality inspection. The private sector,
combined with state and local governments, also spends billions on similar
ranchers support efforts to evaluate and enhance the current regulatory and
food monitoring system. Agricultural producers want to work with all parties
toward maintaining safe food, but this industry must avoid policy changes that
are based solely on fear or false information.
affecting the course of agricultural production remain critically important and
will have far reaching implications on our quality of life. We must be careful
in determining long-term policies. Farmers and ranchers will continue to
maximize their production capacity with an ever-watchful eye on food safety,
quality and our environment.