Editorial

Every day Earth Day to Iowa farmers

Friday, April 19, 2013

On April 22, millions of people around the world will celebrate the 42nd anniversary of Earth Day.

The idea behind the day began back in the "hippie culture" of the 1960's, but was not officially observed until 1970. Earth Day is certainly a deserving holiday that recharges and encourages us to honor the planet and all living things that inhabit it.

As an Iowan, it's easy to think that in the land of plenty, everyone has enough food to lead an active, healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, that's not the case. More than 50 million Americans don't have access to the food they need.

The situation doesn't seem to be improving, either. There are more than 315 million people in the U.S. today and we rely on less than two percent of those people to feed us. Fortunately, the agriculture industry has an impressive story to share. We are using less land, water and energy to produce crops and livestock than ever before.

Today, one American farmer produces enough food for 155 people. Only a few decades ago, that number was only 26 people. While farmers are increasing their efficiency and decreasing their environmental footprint, they are also focusing on improving the land they will pass on to future generations.

Experts estimate global food production will need to more than double by 2050 to feed a growing world population. Many of those experts agree that U.S. livestock production practices are an environmentally sustainable solution for producing crops and livestock and should be considered a model for the rest of the world.

Farmers work hard to provide healthy and nutritious products to people around the world while efficiently using their resources and providing the finest care possible for their livestock. Their history with the land and their animals dates back hundreds of years, long before it became "hip" to celebrate Earth Day.

We hope as you prepare to celebrate Earth Day, that you take a minute to consider how fortunate we are to have access to safe, wholesome and affordable food.

While millions celebrate Earth Day on April 22, our dedicated crop and livestock farmers celebrate it every day. For Iowa's farmers, environmental responsibility isn't just a job, it's a way of life.