Agriculture is ‘ecocide’? Third-generation farmer takes on environmental objections to modern food production

wheatfarmer lead
Credit: Adobestock

When times are tough and people are struggling, we tend to look for someone to blame. The op-ed “Link between factory-farmed animals, COVID-19 and preventing the next pandemic” is a recent example; its authors want you to think American agriculture is responsible for creating an environment for pandemics to flourish. 

I’m a third-generation farmer, I call it like it is — and such claims are unhelpful, especially when farmers are struggling to keep food on store shelves. 

[Editor’s note: Zippy Duvall is the president of the American Farm Bureau Federation and a third-generation farmer from Georgia.]

America’s farmers and ranchers are …. not committing “ecocide,” as some critics claim …. The advances made in just the past 30 years have drastically improved the way food gets from our fields to our homes. Just three decades ago, it would have required 100 million more acres to grow the amount of food being produced today.

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At the same time, farmers have dedicated 140 million acres — 15 percent of all farmland, equal to the landmasses of California and New York combined — to conservation, providing natural habitats and buffers.  That’s far from the “ecocide” that farmers are accused of committing.

Greenhouse gas emissions, one of the most cited factors in addressing climate change, are trending down in American agriculture when evaluated on a per-unit basis.

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