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LETTER: Earth Day is every day for Hoosier farmers

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It has been estimated that one billion people around the globe, in some way, observed Earth Day Sunday (yesterday). This was the 42nd annual celebration of a day set aside specifically to reinforce the importance of environmental vigilance, veneration and responsibility.

It may go largely unnoticed but there is a portion of our population that observes Earth Day 365 days a year.

Chances are very good that you know at least one of them.

It is all those people in countless agricultural roles who embrace the responsibility to be stewards of our food, our land and our animals. It is the farmers who are helping provide food, fuel and fiber to their neighbors next door and across the world.

Here’s an awe-inspiring nugget: Two-hundred years ago, 90 percent of the American population farmed; today, less than 2 percent of our population farms.

Farmers are masters of finding new, better ways to do things. In the last 50 years, they have figured out how to grow the same amount of food on half as much land.

And they are not content to stop there. Farmers are continuing to build on their successes and become even more efficient and sustainable. From improving soil-testing and land management techniques to using seeds developed to grow strong, more resilient crops, it is about responsibly using the tools they have to impact both their bottom line and the environment.

These tools allow farmers to be more precise in what they do and how they do it. While it seems as if everything affects our pocketbooks, when you get right down to it, farming also affects our refrigerators, cupboards and lunch boxes many times each day.

Nature doesn’t suggest or encourage that farmers be good stewards of the land. Nature demands that farmers be good stewards of the land; not occasionally, but constantly. Capably, safely and practically growing food is their livelihood and their legacy, not just for the present, but for the generations that follow.

Earth Day traditionally falls on April 22. For your neighborhood farmer, Earth Day is every day.

JANE ADE STEVENS
Chief Executive Officer, Indiana Soybean Alliance, Indiana Corn Marketing Council