Friday is Earth Day

Created: 4/18/11 (Mon) | Topic: Education

The first Earth Day was April 22, 1970, and is often credited for launching the modern environmental movement. The passage of the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act and other environmental laws soon followed the first Earth Day 41 years ago.

According to the Earth Day Network, more than 1 billion people now participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world.

We would just like to remind everyone that, while people can celebrate Earth Day, farmers and ranchers quietly celebrate it every day. Because they know if they don't take care of the land, the land will not take care of them.

Here are a few statistics as proof:

• While farm and ranch productivity has increased dramatically since 1950, the use of resources (labor, seeds, feed, fertilizer, etc.) required for production has declined markedly.

• America’s farmers and ranchers are doing their part to feed a growing world. Total U.S. crop yield (tons per acre) has increased more than 360 percent since 1950.

• Dairy cow milk production has become more efficient since 1980. The pounds of feed (grain, forage, etc.) a cow needs to consume to produce 100 pounds of milk has decreased by more than 40 percent on average in the last 30 years.

• Since 1982, U.S. land used for crops has declined by 70 million acres. Conservation tillage, a way of farming that reduces erosion (soil loss) on cropland while using less energy, has grown from 17 percent of acreage in 1982 to 63 percent currently.

• Careful stewardship by America’s food producers spurred a nearly 50 percent decline in erosion of cropland by wind and water since 1982.

Farmers and ranchers are doing more with  less. How many others can say the same thing?

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