North Dakota State University student
Do you believe it is important for our country to grow enough food to feed ourselves or is it acceptable to rely on foreign countries for our food?
“Civilization as it is known today could not have evolved, nor can it survive, without an adequate food supply,” once said Norman Borlaug, ‘The Man Who Saved a Billion Lives.’ Borlaug developed semi-dwarf, high-yielding, disease-resistant wheat varieties and introduced them along with modern agricultural production techniques to Mexico, Pakistan, and India. These countries were able to greatly improve their food security and even became wheat exporters in some cases. For these reasons Borlaug was described as having saved a billion people’s lives and he won the Nobel Peace Prize for his outstanding achievements. For me, a child of the millennial generation, it will soon be up to my colleagues and me to help continue to raise an adequate food supply for this great world.
The United States is home to a vast diversity of soil types and climates, allowing us to grow many different crops and raise many sorts of livestock. Here in the Midwest, our soil is found to be some of the best for both crop and livestock production. Some soils are high producers for wheat, soybean, and corn crops, whereas other soils are simply best for grass production, therefore utilized by livestock producers. “It would be a shame for us Midwesterners to turn our backs on not only our country, but as well the entire world, to not properly use our soil for agriculture production,” replied Dr. David Buchanan, an esteemed NDSU professor and researcher in animal breeding and genetics. “Our soil type is unique in the fact that it can raise numerous products very effectively.”
I firmly believe that agriculture production in the Midwest is not only an invaluable use of the land, but also a passionate lifestyle for many families. As I grew up on a farm that has been passed down for generations, I hope to continue that legacy through my own children one day and even further down to my grandchildren. Everything on a farm or ranch is done to better it for the next generation, and that is not something us agriculturists should walk away from. By depending upon other countries for our food supply, we would not only fail to meet our standards as providers for the world, but we would also lose our passions. Agriculture is our way of life, and for me certainly, it is not something I am willing to ever give up at any moment. I live, breath, eat, sleep, and dream about agriculture. The option to give it all up never once crosses my mind.
In the United States, Americans are truly some of the richest people in the world. For us to be able to walk into the nearby grocery store and buy anything our stomach desires is really a great wonder we have available. Because of this, Americans have a highly elaborate and varied diet. In order to properly meet the standards of the American diet, we have no choice but to depend on other countries for certain foods, as we should. We should, and do, offer the same opportunities to other parts of the world. The future of the world’s food production will highly depend on efficiency improvements, and I firmly believe that each country should produce certain types of food that most efficiently thrive in that environment. The United States must continue to be a part of that worldwide ecosystem.
So to answer the question, “Do you believe it is important for our country to grow enough food to feed ourselves or is it acceptable to rely on foreign countries for our food?,” I must say I believe Americans should be doing both. Our country is a great environment for livestock production and we should never stop that tradition. But when it comes to eating bananas or mangoes, I feel we should turn to other countries for help in supplying our demand for those products. With the great advancement in technology, I would surely like to see more people following in the footsteps of Norman Borlaug. Feeding the world is no task one country can take on; it will surely be a full-fledged effort on everyone’s part, worldwide.
May the boss cow lead you home,
Justin Bartholomay is a senior at North Dakota State University where he is majoring in Animal Science. Justin grew up in a small town, Sheldon, N.D., on a four-generation family owned operation where they raise commercial Simmental cattle, sheep, and row-crops such as corn, soybeans, and wheat. Justin recently served as the 2012 North Dakota Beef Ambassador and takes pride in advocating for the agriculture industry through verbal and social media outlets. He is both a member of NDSU’s Wool Judging and Livestock Judging teams, taking the opportunity to travel and see livestock production nationwide. He hopes through his studies and traveling experiences, he will one day land a job in the field of livestock reproduction and genetics helping to better the livestock industry for future production.
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Outtagrass Cattle Co. cartoon by Jan Swan Wood for the Oct. 23, 2021, edition of Tri-State Livestock News