We have the most amazing opportunity to take a leading role in the world but somehow we find ourselves as both price takers and slaves to legislation and let’s be honest we end up complaining about both facts. Perhaps we should attempt to turn this around. I recently read an article in the Huffington Post and my instant reaction was stereotypical farmer over defensive anger.
The article pointed to farming as both the cause and solution to climate change. I reacted badly to the claim that we were the cause and even more so to the ignorance in how we could be the cure. Of course the loss of organic matter in soil has been a major cause of climate change and we should not just be defensive about that, but accept what we have done as a response to the markets demand for cheap food for all, at any cost. The cost was the de-population of the land and the de-carbonation of the soil. This was the results of our actions, but not a process that we could change globally.
It then pointed out that if we farmed better then we could be the solution to climate change by storing carbon in the soil; quite right! But the next bit told us how we would achieve it. Basically a collection of ill thought through stereotypical townie opinions, I seethed.
But it is our responsibility to address this issue and solution and not leave the intellectual space open to the ill-informed. The solution is of course to look forward while remembering old techniques, not to revert to 19th century farming.
So the world has a problem and is starting to realise that only agriculture can solve this. This is our opportunity to confidently offer our services to fulfil this role, not as followers, not as subsidy junkies but as visionaries and leaders.
It is my firm belief that by cleverly using data and latest technology, by staying true to agronomic principles we can deliver the carbon sequestration that the world needs, that our farmland needs as long as we set the agenda and insist on being paid for results achieved.