June 14, 2024

Agriculture and its link to world hunger

Agriculture is indistinguishably linked to world hunger, food security, and the overall health of the environment. 

Agriculturists are given the task of feeding the world, they are the original stewards of the land and they’ve been environmentalists since long before the Sierra Club.

Farmers are faced with an onslaught of challenges. They must address water scarcity, viable farm land, and expensive acreage, not to mention the capital needed in the first years. This creates an expensive barrier to entry that may cause our society to fail in the near future.

Fewer and fewer children come back to the farm every year. They will never see a field to fruition, never make another sale, and never learn from the hardships of the land.

A 2017 U.S. Department of Agriculture report says that the average age of a farmer is 57.5, the age most people in the workforce start making  arrangements for retirement and lowering their golf handicaps. Farmers will work themselves into the dirt, quite literally. 

The newer generation is not replacing older farmers. Is it because they don’t want to, or because they can’t? 

American farmers and ranchers face a challenge forced upon them by consumer demand. The world’s dependence on American agriculture takes a toll on our farm lands,  soil, natural resources, and impacts supply and demand and market prices. 

Deceased writer Wallace D. Wattles said it best, “It is essential to have good tools, but it is also essential that the tools should be used in the right way.”

One final barrier to becoming a first-generation farmer is having first-hand experience which can only be gained from working in the  from time industry.

Toknock down the barriers we must first solve the water shortage, a most
basic ingredient needed for all  life. We as Americans have gotten better at water use and retention over the years, according to the International Water Management Institute. But agriculture, which accounts for 70 percent of global water withdrawals, constantly competes with domestic, industrial and environmental uses for a scarce water supply. 

Feeding the world is a farmer’s first priority and, without water, we will be hobbled. Water demand grows every day as urban communities encroach upon  rural areas. The culinary water used for new businesses, homes, and recreational areas compete for the supply farmers need to irrigate.

Multiple-generation farmers pass water shares down to their kids and grandkids, but water shares that become available are sold at exorbitant prices With rising demand and a high price per share, first-generation farmers will dry up.

Jace Draper

   Land is long and vast, but at what point will we run out? Cities such as New York, Miami, and Los Angeles have the option to build up instead of building out. However, farmers are not able to stack field over field no matter how much dirt they move.

  The availability of land may be the biggest barrier to entry. Without access to fertile, tillable, and accessible land, there are no farms or fields to cultivate.

In 2014, U.S. farms occupied 913 million acres. By 2020, this decreased 5.1 percent to   896 million acres. If this continues, we may see a rise in hunger, poverty, homelessness — and more illness may creep across out country.

At the end of the day, our farms tell a story. How will the next chapter begin?