Editor's Notebook: More Is Changing Than We Realize

October 25, 2013 09:00 PM

I’m just as guilty as anyone of getting absorbed in what’s going on in my
corner of the world. Just because we have more access to information these days than ever before doesn’t mean we pay attention to all of it.

Right now, much of agriculture has a blind spot to the labyrinth of regulations, policies and court mandates that will redefine how we farm—and perhaps whether we farm. Those threats range far and wide and target every facet of commercial agriculture.

At the bedrock of the onerous landscape are two realities. First, most Americans don’t understand the complexities of agriculture. This not only makes it easy to draw inaccurate conclusions but also allows good intentions to turn into unintended consequences. Second, there are a growing number of anti-ag organizations that use policy and lawsuits as an activist weapon.

Both of those realities have existed before now, but the activity and encroach­ment is escalating. Just in the past month, Iowa livestock producers were put in EPA’s bull’s-eye when the agency and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources signed a work plan agreement that requires seven major steps for each operation.

In the South, a U.S. District Court judge in Louisiana ordered EPA to decide whether to regulate nitrogen and phosphorous runoff for every stream within the Mississippi River basin. He ordered EPA to respond within 180 days of Sept. 20, 2013.

Actions like these—and hundreds more—are what prompted us to launch America’s Agriculture Challenge. See page 18 to learn more and get involved.

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