Letter to the Editor: Is Agriculture Sustainable

February 10, 2014

I received this letter today:

We just returned from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association convention in Tennessee. The buzz word for the convention was sustainability and what the definition means to the future of the cattle industry. Farmers comprise two percent of the U.S. population. Twenty one million workers (15% of total U.S. workforce) produce, process, and sell the nation’s food and fiber.

In a letter Grover C. Robinson, IV ECC District 4 stated “The challenges are, while our traditional agriculture is based in the northern two-thirds of this county, the other services provided create benefits to the 80 percent of the population that lives below Nine Mile Road.”

I don’t disagree with Mr. Robinson on the challenges or the percentages. These numbers are very much in line with the percentages of 2% farmers and 15% additional workforce. How do we sustain agriculture for future generations? We need young people to pursue production agriculture in order to be sustainable. We need facilities that can be utilized to teach young people about large animals. The proposed 4-H facility has much to offer our youth, however lacks in all areas for large animals.

4-H lit the fire under me and my husband to become part of the 2% that feed the world. We need facilities that can insure the fire is lit in our youth. We need IFAS to remember the 2% and the future. We need property and facilities in a location suitable for this education.

Debra Gilmore

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