Yesterday I drove through my little corner of the Flinthills and observed Fall in all her glory. The sun shone bright in the clean, blue sky and the earthy colors of the trees cascaded up and down the valleys. The open native grass pastures were covered in a golden brown sea. I took just a second to pause and remember why I love my little part of the world.
My family has called the Flint Hills home for five generations and our roots run deep. I am no different than most of my counterparts in agriculture. I truly love the land and it is part of who I am. This moment of reflection also caused me to return to a deep-seated concern that has been growing daily.
More and more each day this corner of the world that I love so much is coming under more and more regulation by people who are thousands of miles away. While most of them are well-meaning (although many have under-lying more sinister motives), I truly believe that they do not understand the situation and they will do more harm than good. They do not know the land like the farmers and ranchers who live on it.
Each day agriculture becomes more regulated. These regulations are meant to preserve the natural resources around us, but in many cases they do just the opposite. They are imposed on us by bureaucrats and activists hundreds of miles away and take away the ability of the farmer and rancher to do what is best for their land and make a living for their family. Advances in technology have allowed us to do a better job of preserving the world around us. I know this is not what is portrayed by various media outlets and governmental organizations, but it is the truth.
My family has been on the same land for over 100 years and we strive to preserve the land for another 100 years. We would never do anything to harm the land, water, animals or our neighbors. We simply utilize the resources entrusted to us feed the world and to preserve our way of life. The bottom line is that farmers and ranchers produce more food, while preserving and even improving the land, air and water around us.
However, each day we are faced with unrealistic benchmarks sought after by so-called environmental groups and imposed upon us by government agencies with a political agendas. Yes, air quality is affected by agricultural activities such as dust from field work and burning of native range. However, these events are part of natural life cycles and are very small when compared to the smog manufactured in more populated areas. Herbicides critical to modern farming and soil saving technology are falsely vilified by groups using biased research data.
I do not mean to go on a rant, but the natural beauty I saw yesterday reminded me of how great farmers and ranchers are in protecting the environment around them. My friends and neighbors work in the fields, pastures and timbers each and every day. They are rooted in the land know how to preserve and improve it better than those who do not live here. What I am saying is we need to entrust the farmers and ranches with the land that is their lifeblood. They are the true environmentalists.