Responsible Farmers Respect Responsible Regulation
Farming is regulated by local, state and federal government agencies through statutes on zoning, water quality, air quality, food safety and more. Ohio’s farmers recognize the importance of these regulations, and want to comply with and address the issues and concerns that are important to the state and local communities.
As in any profession, there have been a few “bad apples” in the farming community who choose to disregard best farming practices, mistreat their land and animals or do not comply with existing regulations. However, these people are in the extreme minority and deserve to be held accountable for their actions. The overwhelming majority of Ohio’s farmers strive to implement responsible, ethical farming practices to protect people, animals and the environment while producing safe, nutritious foods for everyone.
To be truly effective, regulations should be founded on common sense, science-based solutions. They should also be consistent, without overlap or contradiction, in order to prevent further complications or costs. Ohio farmers want to work with government agencies and the public to identify the best approach and solution to each issue, both through voluntary practices and regulation where necessary.
Doing Right By Our Families and Communities
Ohio’s farmers are active members in their communities, and they care about the local economy and the food that they provide. Farmers shop at the same grocery stores, set the dinner table with the same foods and get involved with the same community activities as non-farmers do. In fact, many farmers (57 percent) also work non-farming jobs while taking care of their farms. The main difference between farmers and the rest of the population is that a large part of their livelihoods involve living on, working with and loving the land.
The vast majority (97 percent) of farms in the United States are family-owned and operated, in many cases for multiple generations. In order to support their families today and pass on productive farmland to future generations, farmers must take good care of their animals and environment. To do that, they voluntarily implement best farming practices and new technologies that grow healthier crops and reduce farming’s impact on the environment by using the latest in conservation programs to protect the soil and keep the air and water clean.
They do all of this and more because they care about leaving the land better than when they started, so the generations to come can continue their families’ farming traditions if they choose to. And above all, they want the crops they grow to provide high-quality food, feed, fuel and fiber for their Ohio neighbors and people around the world.
Farmers Are Professionals in Their Field
Just like professionals in any field, farmers are good at what they do, and they are always seeking to improve. Whether it’s researching better farming techniques, creating and implementing new technologies, or applying more sustainable practices, farmers constantly seek to do better for their families, their communities and their customers.
Conservation tillage is a good example. This is a farming practice that keeps the ground covered with organic matter during the winter and helps maintain soil structure. It prevents wind and water from carrying the topsoil into waterways, and has resulted in successfully reducing the amount of soil that erodes from farm fields by more than one billion tons every year.
Advancements in soil testing, Global Positioning Systems (GPS) operation of machinery and nutrient application have enabled farmers to pinpoint the exact treatments needed for their fields so they can apply fertilizer and crop protection resources on an as-needed basis.
There have been extensive advancements in animal care as well. Livestock are now kept in climate-controlled facilities and fed a balanced, nutritious diet to ensure proper health and comfort.
Thanks to the research and advancements over the last few decades, farmers have the ability to increase food production, implement new technologies and conservation practices and care for the land and animals more responsibly and efficiently than ever before.