Ethan V. Utah

Who's Left to Feed the World?

Small towns in the United States are fading faster and faster. But by losing these small communities we also lose the land that feeds an entire nation. Soon we will have to say goodbye to those amber waves of grain. We will have to say goodbye to those fruited plains. And in the end say goodbye to all cultivators, growers and producers from sea to shining sea.

                                                                Who Will Feed The World?

Dear Mr./Madam President,

     My name is Ethan Von Hoene, and I am from the Beehive state aptly named for its close knit community of workers. Utah is a wonderful state with a rich history of pioneers who turned nothing into something, great founders who solved scarcity problems and fed the people of this state one plate at a time. The scarcity problems our forefathers once faced are soon to arise again. Our nation faces a problem, and it’s rooted deeply within all fifty of our United States, a problem that affects us all. The problem I speak of is the loss of vital farmland to construction and development. Today we must preserve this irreplaceable resource so vital to the success of our nation a resource necessary for the continuation of the human race.

     According to the American Farmland Trust, 40 acres of farmland are destroyed each hour; that equates to 960 acres a day 350,400 acres a year. And once these precious acres are bulldozed and built on top of, that land is gone forever. So the question you must be asking is does that much land make a difference? Well we live in a day and age when there are more mouths to feed than ever before, and the number of people this wonderful planet must feed rises with every passing second. We all want to see world hunger end, yet we are turning the land with the means to feed the world into a concrete jungle. I don't know how to put it more simply but no farms equals no food. Family farms are being lost at a rapid rate. Real stated that in 1935 the United States had 6.8 million functioning farms; as of 2007 we are at 2.2 million farms. What is causing the loss of so many valuable food sources? Your average day farmers are under heavy duress as the foods they produce drop in value everyday. The price an agricultural producer can sell his or her goods at is at an all time low, but the price the consumer buys them at is at an all time high! The reason for this is government regulation and our country as a consumer. You would be surprised the impact you as a consumer have on agriculture. The Business Insider stated that Just over 20% of perfectly usable food grown in the U.S gets tossed out without a second glance before hitting store shelves. We as consumers have come to demand cosmetic perfection and will not accept anything less. And many government organizations are starting to enforce regulations that raise the requirements of the quality of food you eat. It’s factors like this that take money out of the pocket of your small town farmer struggling to survive in a corporate society. A large portion of that farmer’s harvest is thrown out by consumers without batting an eye, leaving them with less to provide for you and me. Many farms are not meeting their financial needs and have no better option but to sell the land that has been in their family for many generations. This land often goes to large corporations or land developers. This leaves the world with fewer and fewer people to feed its seven billion residents. Land in the U.S is being lost at an alarming rate. The American Farmland Trust made it clear when they announced that in the last three decades 37% of land in the U.S has been converted into urban metropolises. The EPA had similar results stating that 24 million acres of Agricultural land has been destroyed in the last 34 years. 

     I can see this destruction of land all around me. I live in a farming community or at least it use to be. My rural community was once was filled with natural beauty: green pastures, orchards and wild flora and fauna, hay fields with no end in sight, and endless blue skies. It has been replaced with stores, shopping malls, outlets, fast food joints, and an endless disarrange of concrete, pavement, and roadways. And now the construction is right at the doorstep of my family farm threatening 200 years of tradition. This development threatens to leave several hundred hardworking agricultural producers without a job in my community. The world does not need another grocery store if there is no food to fill it, the world does not need another clothing store when many people worldwide are going to bed hungry without the basic necessities of life. The fact is we all eat, so we should all care a little bit more about the land, people, and methods that grow your food. We must create and manufacture a better future for agriculture or face a bleak destination that lacks the basic nourishment we once enjoyed. If we do not save, and preserve our essential farmland we will be left asking the question, who will feed the Earth?

     May we not only be united by our national banner but the global banner of agriculture for we all stand under its colors and are united by the promise of a new day. But if you are only to absorb a single statement today, it would be we are all affected by agriculture no matter your race, religion, or political views. Agriculture will not only affect you and but your children and your children's children. Agriculture is a necessary uniting force mandatory for the survival of the human race. By working together we stop the disappearance of this irreplaceable natural resource and save the land that supports us. Not only for the preservation of ourselves but to preserve the future of our great nation, to preserve the only planet we can call home and to preserve the future of the great thinkers and doers of tomorrow. I promise if we are cautious caretakers, this great land will continue to yield great bounties. May we as a country be like those first settlers whose goal was to feed those around them one plate at a time. I leave the solution to this difficult problem in the hands of the American people under the guidance of you as the leader and representative of the free world and this glorious country. Thank you. 

Spanish Fork High School

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