New Year’s Day is a day like no other. Many of us take stock of our personal lives and reflect upon ways to improve ourselves through New Year’s resolutions. Farmers and ranchers are no different. However, rather than focusing on self-improvement in early January (and if you’re like me, forgetting about these resolutions shortly thereafter), farmers and ranchers are constantly striving for improvement throughout the year. They’re examining ways to better care for their animals, produce abundant crops and continue to implement stewardship practices to ensure the sustainability of the land.
Throughout the history of American agriculture, farmers and ranchers have made many changes and improvements to the land from when it was first tilled. Through the utilization of new technologies and research, the agricultural industry has excelled and thrived in America. Farmers and ranchers are producing a safe and abundant food source better than ever before. Additionally, through research, new uses of our crops have been identified, such as fuels (ethanol and biodiesel), biodegradable plastics, nontoxic cleaning detergents, etc. Through our innovative agricultural industry, new jobs are created and more products are being produced locally. Through these new uses, however, our farmers are still producing an abundant food supply and we enjoy some of the lowest food costs in the world.
Most farmers are family farmers and are carrying on a huge legacy of their family’s history. If it wasn’t for our ancestors who first turned over the soil by hand, we would never be able to understand the importance of taking care of our soil. The ground we currently grow our crops on has been used by many generations and it is still fertile today as farmers understand the chemistry behind quality soil.
Looking at my family’s farm specifically, 2018 will be a year of incorporating new technologies and research into our farm to improve the way we care for our resources. On my family’s farm, we are excited to implement new practices this spring. The Lundeen family farm is increasing the amount of soil moisture probes. These probes are sensors that are implanted in the ground that show where the plant roots are taking in the most water at different depths and rates. These probes are helping us – and farmers across the country – to manage our precious water resources. By using these moisture probes, we can give our crops the exact amount of water needed.
Not only are farmers working to manage their resources, but ranchers are also working hard towards the improving the way they care for livestock. When raising livestock, producers are continually working to keep them healthy. New advances in research and technology are making it easier for livestock producers to identify sick animals before they show obvious symptoms. Because of this, livestock producers can treat their animals early before the sickness spreads to the rest of the herd. Improvements in the livestock sector also include better nutrition, better animal handling techniques and improved overall care.
What does your New Year’s resolutions list entail? No matter what makes the list, I hope you have a wonderful 2018! As a farmer, I look forward to providing your family with safe and abundant food products in 2018!