The Good Ol’ Days Are Over

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We had a guest speaker at work today, by the name of Fred Kirschenmann. Fred (pictured above) a third-generation farmer and advocate for the future of agriculture is one of our many organic farmers. Listening to what he had to say was not only interesting but sobering as well.

It seems the good ol’ days are long gone. Days where the economy was booming due to the low cost of pretty much everything. Oil was $20 a barrel and the cost of being productive in agriculture was dirt cheap. Bad puns aside, Mr Kirschenmann explained that since the 70’s things have gotten terribly out of balance. America is consuming at an alarming rate. We’re using up our resources faster than nature can replenish them.

Our consumption levels are way out of balance, and the planet cannot sustain itself with the ever growing population. America’s consumption is so overwhelming that if everyone consumed as much as we did, it would be the equivalent of having 72 billion people on earth. That is a staggering statistic. With roughly 6 billion people on the planet, on it’s way to 9 by 2025 yesterday was the time to start thinking about a solution.

Today we are faced with a new challenge. It’s long past shutting off the water while brushing your teeth. How can the American farmer survive where the days are few until oil is $250 a barrel and natural gas is out of site? Mr. Kirschenmann suggests that organic farming is more that just a new fad to eat healthier. It actually helps reduce the amount of resources used. Water for example is something that is being used at an alarming rate. It’s a fact that we cannot sustain the amount of water being used in this country forever. It’s simply not replenishing itself fast enough. Farming organically keeps the soil healthier thus improving it’s ability to retain water, reducing the frequency of the need for irrigation. The dependency on oil is still a problem but reducing the amount of resources we have control over is a step in the right direction.

This was all something I have never really though about. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in our own little world and not realize that we can’t go on living the same way forever. I’m not a tree hugger by any means. In fact I’m close to the opposite. However you can argue with facts If anything it makes you think and that’s the first step.

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