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U.S. Farm Report Mailbag

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A Loaded Question(s)

Mar 25, 2011

   My grandparents have been Kansas farmers since World War 2. I have been thrust into the agriculture industry recently due to my grandmother’s failing health. Fortunately we have a long time family friend as a tenant farmer. Being from a Colorado ski town, I am far from the typical Midwest farmer, but recently I’ve been doing my best to learn as much as possible. Your weekly program has been a great asset to my self-education. 

   Being relatively new to this industry, I’ve noticed a few things and have developed some concerns that I thought you could address on your show in a round table discussion. I would like to get the opinion of several experts on the long term future of farming, considering the following:

  1. Farming is heavily reliant upon diesel fuel, which is constantly getting more expensive and over the long term has a finite supply.
  2. The amount of farmable land is also finite.
  3. The amount of water for irrigation is limited, considering the current drought a lot of the country has experienced the past 10+ years.
  4. The world’s population seems to be growing at just under 1 billion people per decade.
   The system is eventually going to fail, resulting in starvation and war. When do you think this will be? What do you expect fuel and crop prices to be in 10 years? 20 years? 30 years? Will they stay relatively proportional, allowing the farming industry to remain a viable profession?
What about in 50-100 years when there’s no more oil to make diesel?
   I’d also like to hear comments on multi-tasking farm land to produce solar & wind energy in parallel with crops. This is a long term goal I have for our farm. If you use this suggestion on the air, please let me know so I can make a special point to watch. Thanks for your time & consideration, and for helping me learn more about this industry. 
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