Saturday, May 23, 2015

Farmers Help Reduce Hunger
October 10, 2013 | No Comments

By John Parker Local farmers, as part of the bigger picture in the United States, do their share toward reducing hunger or food insecurity in…

By John Parker

Local farmers, as part of the bigger picture in the United States, do their share toward reducing hunger or food insecurity in the country. They do this by their amazing ability to produce an abundance of food at the lowest cost to consumers of any country in the world.

Local farmers do a good job of efficiently and carefully producing food through their hard work and use of modern technology. They are also well-aware of the need to practice good conservation practices and preserving the environment.

With the ability of farmers of all sizes to produce an abundance of food, they have kept food prices down. While this has not eliminated hunger or food insecurity, it has made the dollars available to buy food go further. Americans produce far more than is needed in the country and have exported to millions of people worldwide. And generally the United States can compete on world markets with its exports.

But one may ask, with people hungry in the country, why should the United States be exporting food? One of the main reasons for people not having enough to eat or malnutrition is lack of money to buy the necessary food. Jobs that provide a reasonable family income would be a huge step toward solving the problem.

American farmers, including those right around the corner where we live, have improved their ability to produce food many times over. Back in the 1940s and 50s, one farmer produced enough for himself and maybe 25 or 30 others. Today, one farmer can produce enough for himself and about 155 others. The increase in productivity is nothing short of amazing.

Looking at the situation another way, two percent of the population is feeding the rest of the country and a good share of others in the world. Given the predictions of population increases in the next 30 to 40 years, farmers will need to increase that ability to produce even more.

Looking around the local area, one sees many ways farmers have increased their ability to produce more on the same or fewer acres. They have adapted to technology that makes them more efficient. Using new varieties of seeds that include genetically modified seeds have reduced pesticide use and fewer trips over the land.

Larger, easier to farm fields that lend themselves to bigger, more efficient equipment can be seen all across the area. Just observe this falls harvest.

Dairy farmers have used, for a number of years, artificial insemination that has provided improved breeding and improved production at reasonable cost. Housing has become more efficient, allowing one man to care for many more cows. Big strides have been made in feeding improvements that increased production. Improved milking systems have made it easier to get the cows milked and help control herd health problems.

Coming back to the hunger problem in the country, one can see how farmers have helped reduce hunger by providing plenty of food at the lowest percentage of take-home pay of any other country.

To help solve the hunger problem, Americans need jobs and improvement in the economy. On the other hand, the country has always experienced some hunger. Some experts say it is malnutrition more than hunger, which suggests the country needs to do better education about food preparation and diets. Basic education is important.

Lets give farmers credit for helping to reduce food insecurity in the United States.

Parker is an independent agricultural writer.

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