The April 21 Reporter letter writer of “Your diet can impact the environment” has taken United Nations statistics and implies they are reflective of U.S. agriculture. He puts everything in one big pile and condemns it as the sins of agriculture. I grew up on a farm in Illinois and still have farming connections there. The writer’s fallacies need to be addressed.
First, don’t judge the U.S. agriculture using United Nations statistics relating to the world. U.S. farmers are making efforts to provide humane care of animals, reduce soil erosion, reduce loss of soil nutrients (fertilizer, etc.) to protect water and improve production to feed the world. Farmers need healthy land to maintain a livelihood, so they have a greater interest in maintaining the land more than anyone.
Second, animal production should not be confused with plant production. Yes, animals generate greenhouse gas emissions; so do humans living on earth. Even though my family eats more of a plant-based diet, animals have a place in the American diet, and efforts are being made to improve animal waste management and other production techniques.
Third, where will he get the food on his table if you ban the equipment needed to raise plant products, which he seems to want to do. One solution is to go back to a team of horses to farm with limited production capabilities, and do away with modern, more fuel-efficient equipment. New data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows an increase of 13 percent between 2015 and 2016 in the organic farming, which is a good thing.
According to the International Labour Organization, more than half of the 335,000 workplace fatalities around the globe occur in agriculture, with many occurring here in the U.S., making farming one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. One of my classmates lost his hand in a corn picker. Appreciate the farmer, who works from sun up to sometimes after sundown. He is the caretaker of the land.