With farmers, a new year brings new resolve.
As all Americans welcome a new year, as well as the opportunities that it will potentially bring, America’s farmers and ranchers are once again preparing for the new growing season.
Farmers who make their living with the soil are inspecting the tractors, planters and other equipment essential to get their crop in the ground — checking for potential problems that could halt their efforts for speedy planting. For the spring calving season, ranchers will begin moving their cows to the “calving pasture” so that quick inspections of the herd will reduce issues with individual cows that may have problems delivering a calf.
A farmer’s life is one of constant cycles that are repeated every year.
Whether it’s springtime planting or fall harvest, making hay in the summer or feeding cows in the winter, the rewards of the farmer’s hard work is truly appreciated by those that make their living from a job that is subject to so many variables, two of which are Mother Nature and the markets.
With each passing day our world is inching closer to 2050, the year when many experts estimate that food production must double from 2010 levels in order to meet global demand.
This challenge is always in the back of farmers’ minds … how to meet this incredible demand, knowing that those who produce food must do so on less land and by using fewer resources.
But farmers are off to a good start. Even as total cattle numbers have fallen to levels not seen since the early 1950s, production efficiencies have allowed ranchers to keep up with increasing demand for beef. Similarly, America’s grain growers, through the use of hybrid breeding and genetically modified seeds, have tripled bushels per acre in the same amount of time.
Farmers are a resilient lot. Perhaps this resolve has come about from the constant forces of nature that sometimes work against them and also contribute to the weathered faces and calloused hands of the people who spend a majority of their day outdoors. Regardless of the means the result is the same: a group of citizens from Florida to Washington, from California to Maine, who do their level best to meet any challenge, no matter how impossible it may seem.
Glen Cope is a fourth-generation cattle rancher from Missouri. In 2012, he served as chairman of the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee.