At Our Mercy

An excerpt from Kate Yegerlehner’s article “Saving Civilization with Grassland Farming” in the February issue of the Stockman Grass Farmer magazine. Citing the environmental wastelands left behind by agricultural practices in ancient China, North Africa and Mesopotamia, she writes:

“In essence, our civilization is at the mercy of our agricultural practices.  Many have failed before us, and we can choose to learn from those mistakes or ignore them and reap what we sow.

Very little of the land in our nation carries a negligible risk for erosion.  Many of our major rivers run brown, not clear as they once did, and that is because of the soil they are carrying along.

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Whether we are grass farmers or cultivators of the land, we must pay attention to this finite and somewhat fragile resource of soil.  In an effort to grow a few more bushels of corn or soybeans, neighbors around us have plowed up grass watersheds and drainage areas, sprayed and killed and tilled everything right up to the ditches, and converted sloping pastures to annual cultivated crops.  I can’t fathom how this seems like a responsible long-range plan.  It makes me wonder, in what ways am I blinded to my own short-sighted choices?

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It has been said that those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.  We can’t keep doing the same destructive things to our land that have always been done and expect different results.  That’s the definition of insanity.

As farmers and ranchers we have an incredible opportunity to feed people and steward a portion of this beautiful Earth. I want to do my part to make it healthier, more fertile, and more productive when my time is up than it was when I started.  How about you?

Our nation and our countrymen are counting on us, whether they (or we) know it or not.”

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