Back on the farm with Tina

Are you ready to hit the farm for a few more hectic days? If you read the previous post you have already met wife and mother of five – Tina. She balances and juggles the needs of her business life on the farm as well as spending time with each of her kids, her church family and friends. 

If you were to ask Tina why she loves living the farm life, a person can’t help but hear the sincerity in her voice as she explains it.

“Our family works hard together. We work through whatever hurdles pop up – whether it’s weather or broken machinery – so others can have access to the food they need. We want our fellow Oklahomans to have quality, affordable and healthy food at every meal. It’s our passion. Our family is proud to be a part of feeding everyone – from our neighbors to those living half-way across the world.” 

Curious how Tina’s weekend went? Keep reading to see her diary entries for Saturday, Sunday and Monday.  

Tina and goat

Tina holds her goat in a kind embrace to show him off to the camera. 

If you were to have been in our house on Saturday morning before 9 a.m. you would not have seen me. It wasn’t until then I was able to get my exhausted self out of bed. I cooked a simple breakfast of bacon and eggs on English muffins before I rallied the kids. We scarfed down food.

After a quick meal EVERYONE managed to get dressed to work outside with the goats. It wasn’t long before our human herd invaded the 200 plus goats in the field.

field of goats

The goats are strolling through the pasture where they will receive care from Tina’s family. Those who are to go to market today will then be loaded onto a trailer after which they will sell at market, helping to feed the world. 

Our family works together in the field all of the morning and part of the afternoon to care for the health of the goats. We vaccinate against diseases, use de-wormer to protect against parasites and we sorted the animals into groups.

The heat truly took a toll while we worked through lunch. However we made sure everyone took lots of water and Gatorade breaks. Even when the weather is extreme we make sure to prepare and take care of one another.

Once we have goats sorted we load 22 of them for auction into a livestock trailer. The goats we take are billy kid goats – which are young male goats that are not castrated. My husband and I then load our twin eight-year-old boys into the truck and head for the auction.

We’re on the road for about an hour before we arrive at the auction. We wait in line to unload for about 30 minutes and at 3:30 p.m. we are able to check in and unload the goats into pens.

Ben with goat

Tina’s husband Ben inspects one of the goats up close. Doesn’t he seem to be pleased with what he sees? 

If you think our Saturday was finished, think again. At 3:45 p.m. the drive to our north farm begins. The plan is to finish raking and baling tonight. When we arrive at 4:15 p.m. one of the twins goes with my husband while the other rides with me and while I rake, my husband bales.

Guess what happens at 6:30 p.m. No, we don’t finish working in the hay field. A chain breaks on the baler my husband is driving. I call John Deere (thank goodness for cell phones, am I right?) and drive into town with the twins to meet the John Deere dealer – after hours I might add – to pick up a new chain.

At 7:45 p.m. I once again grace the farm with my presence and after installing the new chain my husband once again is baling hay. I continue to rake. Once the raking is finished I start removing the bales from the field.

The bales must all be removed in order for us to use the central pivot irrigation system to deliver fertilizer to the hay field. The fertilizer is the manure from the pig farm and helps us to recycle the waste back into a better hay crop to feed other animals.

What happens then? My tire blows and I am no longer able to help my husband. I am now simply waiting for my husband to finish.  By this time it is VERY late and VERY dark, but finally we finish. We start the pivot system and it seems to be in working order. By 1 a.m. we are back home and getting showers done before collapsing into our beds.

The next thing I know, it’s Sunday and I’m up at 8 a.m. I shower and get ready for church, wake up the kids so they can get ready, and make some eggs for a quick breakfast. By 10 a.m. we’re out the door and on our way.

After an uplifting service finishes, we head to my parents house for Sunday lunch. By this point it is past noon. Lunch is served and enjoyed by all – my three youngest kids decide to stay with their grandparents while I take my two teenage daughters shopping for back-to-school clothes. (I know it is early – but I do so hate all the crowds).

While shopping we decide we might as well take out two birds with one stone, so we grocery shop too. I am back to my parents house by 6:30 p.m. to pick up my three youngest children and once we’re home I make dinner. Everyone gets to take leisurely showers since we are home so early.

The kids get in bed and I spend some time checking emails, then I stalk around social media and finally I watch my show on Netflix before I drift off to sleep.

Guess what though – the first cut of the hay season is finished and it’s a good day.

I greet the sun at 7 a.m. I proceed to get ready, eat breakfast and go to my desk to return emails, pay bills, make and return phone calls and sort all of the mail. This is the boring paper work part, but someone has to do it.

By 8 a.m. I get a call that the farm needs more semen to be able to artificially inboy on hay baleseminate the sows. I call the boar stud  and set up time to meet a delivery driver. (Securing the materials to breed the pigs is the job of the company with which my family contracts).

At 8:30 a.m. I am driving to Seminole, Okla. to meet the delivery driver with the semen. Once the delivery is finished I drive straight to the farm and get the semen into a cooler. I check the paperwork to make sure every single detail is in order before I leave.

Lunch is next on my agenda so at 10:30 a.m. I am making lunch and the family eats together around 11:30 a.m. By noon I am back to the desk and working on all of the paperwork. I plan for this to be my job the rest of the afternoon.

However at 3:30 p.m. my husband calls. He has a busted hydraulic hose and needs a new one as soon as I can possibly get one to him. Luckily by 4 p.m. I am at Napa Auto Parts store having a new hose made (and then I stop by the bank while I am in town). By 5 p.m. my husband has the new hose and less than 30 minutes later I am getting to water the flowers on my porch.

From 6-7 p.m. I make dinner. The family gathers to eat together and then everyone gets their showers finished. Once that is done, we sit down together and watch a movie. Want to guess which one? It is then time for bed.

Can you imagine spending a few days in Tina’s shoes? Does it sound fun to you? Would you be scared to have so many irons in the fire? Let me know what you think. Also, what questions do you have for Tina – or any other Oklahoma pig farmer? Let’s get connected! 

 

It’s 9 a.m. it must be time for…

There is no such thing as the same old routine when you make your living raising pigs. While there are days when you ship pigs, days when you wean pigs and days when you get feed – no two days are ever the same. There is always something new around the corner and interesting hurdles to overcome.

For that reason, we asked one member of okPORK to document what happened on a single day on the farm – moment by moment. Those moments are shared here to help you to understand how a day moves behind the biosecure doors of an Oklahoma farm.

What I got in return was an accounting of several days – both on and off the farm. How do your days compare to the those of a farmer?

Meet Tina who farms in southeastern Oklahoma. She and her husband Ben rock through life with five kids – a daughter who is 18, one who is 13, another who is 10, and twin eight-year-old boys. With two pig farms, goats, hay, dance practice, soccer games, church and everything else life throws at them this family intimately understands the phrase “burning the candle at both ends.”

Sound familiar? Tina kept a diary of a few days during hay season. Scroll to experience a Day in the Life of Tina.

At 8 a.m. we are out the door. I snagged the wheel of the tractor and one of my sons joined me. Since we have a buddy seat in the newest tractor we often take one of the kids with us while we work. It’s great to be able to spend one-on-one time while at the same time practicing the family’s work ethic. We head to the hay field and begin raking.

edited

11:30 a.m. rolls around and we head to the house for lunch and a quick pit stop in the bathroom. I cook lunch for the family and manage to get the kitchen cleaned afterward.

Feeling refreshed after finishing lunch by 12:30, this time I head back to the field with my daughter who is 10. We all make sure we take turns in the buddy seat, so everyone gets a chance to feel the love. Once we start baling hay we don’t stop until the sun retires for the day.

When 5:30 p.m. rolls around, we switch fields. We also stop by the house and I managed to make a meatloaf for dinner. I got to put it in the oven but my 18-year-old daughter took over then. She was in charge of taking it out of the oven when the timer chimed in an hour.

About the time I should have been having dinner (7:30 p.m.) a bale managed to get stuck in the baler. I was able to go back to baling, but only after the fun of digging out the problem bale.

9:45 p.m. saw me sliding into my HOME sweet home. It was at this point I finally was able to sit down at the desk in my home office to do some quick work on the computer.

A few minutes after 10 p.m. I knocked off the dirt with a shower before finally getting to finish dinner at 10:50 p.m. by making mashed potatoes to accompany the meatloaf we made earlier. Finally, the parts of the family who are home sit down to eat.

It wasn’t until 11:05 p.m. that I was able to head into town to drop a deposit for my 13-year-old daughter’s solo dance class (which was due the next day). I knew I would be unable to take it later since the hay fields would be waiting again tomorrow.

It was 11:40 p.m. before my husband and my last two kids (the other 8-year-old and the 13-year-old) got home. This is when they finally finished hauling hay and were able to eat.

At 11:45 p.m. I return from town, we start showers. We finally all fall into bed by about midnight.

It is now Friday at 7 a.m. I am up, making breakfast, getting all five kids organized for the day, I then run through the shower and get dressed. I head to my desk for over-due phone calls, emails and mail.  As soon as I finish, I’m outside to load the tractor and baler onto the goose-neck trailer and hook the rake onto the other truck.

edited 2

My husband and I head to our other farm 52 miles away – he pulls the goose-neck and I tow the hay rake with the other truck. Since we are expecting an extremely long day, we don’t bring any of the kids with us. When we arrive we immediately get set up and I rake hay until dark while my husband bales behind me.

It takes us an hour to get back to town and at 10 p.m. we do a drive thru for dinner. While we are in town we pick up our daughter from her grandparents house. Mercifully we then get to go home, shower and crawl into bed.

Are you having fun learning about Tina’s life on the farm? Tune in for the next post where Tina and her family take care of the goats and work around the pig farm. 

 

A place to call your own

Individual stalls

This photo is of sows in individual stalls in a farm in western Oklahoma. It is one way farmers choose to keep their pigs healthy and safe.

Farmers in Oklahoma are dedicated to a set of ethical principles and among those principles you will find a dedication to animal care. Modern research into farm design, animal handling practices and veterinary medicine have helped to increase the health and comfort of pigs in in barns.

Animal welfare is of the highest importance to the farmers in Oklahoma who believe it is the best state in the country in which to raise baby pigs.

A number of farmers in Oklahoma see individual gestation stall housing as one way to keep pigs safe and healthy. The American Association of Swine Veterinarians and the American Veterinary Medical Association both agree that all types of sow housing have advantages and disadvantages and what is most important is the level of individual care given to the pigs.

The level of individual care each pig is able to receive is at its highest level with this type of housing. With only one pig in each stall the pigs aren’t able to fight or steal food from each other.

Farmers in an individual stall housing style barn can walk thorough and see each pig, how they are looking, what they have eaten and what kind of mood they are in immediately. The farmer knows from day to day which animals are acting like their normal selves.

checking feeders

In this photo one farmer is checking gestating sows and the feeders to make sure everything is in proper working order.

The Oklahoma Pork Council believes that decisions about how to raise pigs and how to house those pigs are best made by the people who are on the farm taking care of the animals each day, backed by science and overseen by a veterinarian. okPORK also supports all types of pig farming – as long as the ethical principles the pork industry stands behind is adhered to.

What questions do you have? What other parts of the farm are you curious about? What would you like to talk about next? Oklahoma pig farmers are ready to share their story with you and looking forward to you peeking behind the barn doors! 

Scratching in individual penA farmer stops to scratch behind the ears of one of the gestating sows. Individual attention is easy to give when the sow is in a stall and is also safe for the farmer as well.

You’ve heard of pigs in a blanket, what about pigs in a pile?

penned sows

The above photo shows sows in a group housing situation. 

Legislators talk about it. Farmers talk about it. Activists talk about it. Moms in the city talk about it. Moms in the country talk about it. Dads everywhere talk about it. There is so much to wade through – how do you know what to hear?

There I go, talking about it and not even naming it. You see, I am talking about sow housing systems.

In Oklahoma a significant number of sows live their days in group housing. Another option is individual housing. Both of these housing options are healthy, safe and humane options where sows can live. The next post will cover individual housing options and why farmers sometimes choose to raise sows in stalls.

The number of pigs living in group housing in Oklahoma change with time due to renovations of older facilities and improvements in feeding systems. Group housing is also known in the industry as group gestation or pen gestation, which refers to the time when the sows, or mother pigs, are pregnant. During this time the sows will be living in large pens with other pregnant sows.

These groups of sows usually get to know each other. After having babies, being bred and becoming pregnant again the same group will come back together to spend their gestation period.

Pen gestation is very different from farm to farm and one main difference among them are the feeding arrangements. In Oklahoma there are electronic sow feeders and free access stalls. Both allow for the pig to eat in privacy away from the other pigs. This helps even the least aggressive pig to get plenty to eat.

If a farm has an electronic sow feeder, each sow must each have an electronic chip in their ear. When the sow walks up to the feeder the chip is read, and if the sow hasn’t eaten yet the gate will open. The correct amount of food is dropped into a pan inside the feeder once the sow has entered. When the food is all gone the pig exits through a gate on the other end of the feeder from where it entered.

The information is recorded about which sows have eaten, how much they ate and when they ate into a computer database. Each day a farmer checks the database to make sure each pig has eaten. If one of the sows doesn’t eat all the day’s food, the farmer goes out to the pen to see why. If the problem is simply a sleeping pig, the pig is woken up and the farmer will steer the pig to the feeder. If one of the sows is sick or hurt, the farmer will then remove the sow from the pen into the “hospital” where individual pens will help with individual treatment.

mansion checking pigs to feed

in the above photo, a farmer is checking the electronic tag in the pig’s ear against his list of pigs who haven’t eaten. This helps to ensure each sow gets plenty to eat each day. 

You will often find a pigs sleeping in a pile when they live in group housing. Farmers jokingly call the pile of animals a pig pile.

pig pile

Sows in a pig pile. You can also see a water nipple in the foreground where the sows have access to as much water as needed any time of day or night.

Free access stalls are another system to care for sows in groups. In this style there is a large group area lined by individual pens. Any time the sow wishes to be alone and not share space with the other females, they are able to open the individual pens themselves. The sow can simply push open the back panel of the stall and enter and as she does so the stall will close behind. The moment the sow wishes to leave the stall the sow simply backs up and the back panel will open.

When it is feeding time, each pen in a group is delivered the same amount of food and the sows will pick an individual pen to let themselves into to eat.

Checking_the_pens_MBStoryThe above photo is of a farmer checking the functionality of a free access stall. He is standing in the group pen and sows would are able to open and close the pens any time they choose.

With both styles of pen housing you can see the positives. There is a social aspect to the housing and room to move around at will. Each sow is still fed individually and has access to plenty of food and water to help keep both her and her growing babies healthy.

There are a few negatives as well to the group sow housing. Pregnant pigs are often mean to each other. They can be very territorial and violent. It is something which must be closely monitored. In addition, each animal must be trained to use the feeding system in place before they can be expected to become part of a group.

It is the farmer who is in the barn every day. It is the farmer who knows which pigs get along and which are bossy. It is the farmer who knows which sows are picky eaters and which ones are the first in line to the feeders. This is why we believe farmers should have the right to choose how they raise their animals.

What questions do you have about group sow housing? Of which parts would you like to see more photos? What other topics would you like to read about.

Dottie with a baby pig in arms2

Let me know! This is meant to be a discussion – but I need to hear your voice!

Archived: Bringin’ home the Bacon

We all eat. Food, I hope.

It’s part of life.

So, grocery shopping has become a critical part of our lives just like fueling up the Swagger Wagon {see video here} is the norm.

So the big question is – where do you shop for groceries? What are you looking for?

To me {as a twenty-something}, I look for price, first. Let’s be honest.

My heirarchy of needs looks a little like this: price, ingredients, packaging {just keepin’ it real}. I also want to know my food is safe. Shopping in America, I sometimes take for granted that our food has mutliple checks and a system of caring individials who ensure our food supply is safe and afordable.

Archived: Steve Jobs

There is little doubt Steve Jobs was one of the most influential people of the 20th century. Some would even argue he may be the most influential person of the 21st century even though we are just over a decade into the century. From Apple Computers to Dreamworks animated movies to iPods, iPhones, and iPads, there is very little in our society that isn’t touched in some fashion by the efforts of Steve Jobs.

I used Apple computers while I was in college taking journalism classes. I used them when I was in graduate school working as an editor for a university research publication. I wasn’t the first to try them, but I’ve had an iPod for more than five years and I got my first iPhone in 2008 and an iPad in 2011.

So when they announced there was an authorized biography on Steve Jobs coming out last August, I couldn’t wait to read it. When Jobs died just weeks before the book was released and stories of his life and contributions to our world became common place on TV and in print, I really couldn’t wait to get the book.

I knew very little about Jobs before I read the book. I didn’t know he was adopted or where he went school. I knew he had worked with Bill Gates early in his career, but didn’t know what they did or how and why they parted ways. If you read the book, there is little doubt in my mind you come to same conclusion I did that Jobs was one weird dude. Brilliant, but weird. 

Of all the stories and insight shared through the book, the one that stuck with me

 

I would encourage everyone to read Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. Not because you’ll be fascinated with the technology, but because I’m betting you don’t really appreciate all the things Jobs did that impact your every day life.

Archived: Oklahomans Fighting the Hunger

Very little is more disheartening to an person dedicated to animals than a mistreated or abandoned animal. Seeing a kitten on the side of the road or a horse without enough to eat can send one into a telephoning frenzy looking for someone — who knows someone — to help.

Our colleagues and friends in the pork world feel the same way. Want proof? Be confident in this belief because okPORK joined hands with a group of like-minded organizations to support the Oklahoma Livestock Relief Coalition.

The responsibility to seize abused and neglected large animals and assure the humane care of the animals falls upon local law enforcement agencies. The mission of the OLRC is to provide a simple way to channel emergency financial support from private individuals and organizations to those local law enforcement agencies.

“I think that by coming together as a group we bring more attention to it,” said Carey Floyd, the OLRC spokesperson. “We make the public aware and we have provided a way for Oklahomans to give help right here.

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin provided her stamp of approval to OLRC at a morning news conference on Monday, January 23. In addition to the governor, the Oklahoma Secretary of Agriculture, Jim Reese, members of the partner organizations and the media gathered in the Blue Room at the Oklahoma State Capital.

 “We’ve had a tough summer,” Fallin said. “And it’s been hard on our farmers and ranchers. It’s a great example of the private sector coming together with law enforcement agencies to properly take care of animals.”

The OLRC agrees about the tough summer and drought, so much so they made it part of their mission statement when forming the coalition.

How much do you love animals?

The Oklahoma Livestock Relief Coalition is accepting monetary donations only.  Donations may be made through the Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Foundation, a 501(c)(3) at www.okvma.org  or send to OVMF, PO Box 14521, Oklahoma City, OK 73113.  Checks can be made payable to OLRC or OVMF.  For more information, please call (405)478–1002.

Archived: Learning from Mike Holmes and Steve Jobs

I blame my wife for my fascination with Mike Holmes and his TV shows Holmes Inspection and Holmes on Homes. I had never watched HGTV, but my wife is obsessed with it and she drug me into it.

Mike Holmes

I’m a technology addict. I love my iPhone and iPad. I believe they are history altering devices. That’s a big statement and it leads one to believe Steve Jobs must have been one of the most influential people of my lifetime.

 

I’m sure you’re asking what Mike Holmes and Steve Jobs have in common and why I’m writing about them in Sounds from the Sty. Here’s the simple answer – Steve Jobs believed and Mike Holmes believes that what you can’t see is every bit as important as what you can see.

In the book Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson’s biography of Jobs, Jobs relates a story and a work ethic his father instilled in him at a young age. Jobs took Isaacson to his childhood home in Mountain View, CA. Jobs said he had worked with his father to build a new fence at the home. Isaacson wrote Fifty years later the fence still surrounds the back and side yards of the house… As Jobs showed it off to me, he caressed the stockade panels and recalled a lesson that his father implanted deeply in him. It was important, his father said, to craft the backs of cabinets and fences properly, even though they were hidden. “He loved doing things right. He even cared about the look of the parts you couldn’t see.”

In his TV shows, Holmes visits families whose homes are falling apart – usually due to a contractor or renovator that chose to cut corners or not build the home to current building codes. Problems are always found hidden in the floors, ceilings, and walls of these homes. It is clear the work was “hidden” because no one would ever see it.

Holmes has a simple motto – “Do It Right.” Even if the homeowner will never see the work he does, it is important to Holmes to make sure everything is done right.

Today’s pork producers raise our hogs indoors – hidden from the public’s view. We know this is to provide better care for our animals, protect them from the elements and predators. However, the general public doesn’t know that and they don’t appear to be willing to just accept our word that we are doing it right.

It is time for all of us in the pork industry to learn from Steve Jobs and Mike Holmes to always Do It Right and make sure the animal care we provide in our barns is the same care we’d give if everyone could see in our barns. The public expects us to care about the things they can’t see.

Consider it a lesson from Mike Holmes and Steve Jobs.

Archived: Why you should care about Orcas

Yep, that’s right I’m writing about killer whales in in Sounds from the Sty. Give me a sec – you’ll see the point.

The People for Ethical Treatment of Animals has filed suit against SeaWorld on behalf of five Orcas. They are claiming that the Orcas are enslaved and it is a violation of their Thirteenth Amendment rights. In 1865, the amendment was a monumental move for human rights – outlawing slavery and indentured servitude. Now PETA is going to use the court system to say the same right should be applied to non-humans.

Last week I happened to catch a radio discussion between Laura Ingraham and the Jeffery Kerr, general counsel for PETA, on this very issue. Ingraham tried diligently to press him to admit that they would continue up the ladder and seek to “abolish slavery” of all zoo animals. Of course, Kerr denied it working very hard to say that “this is just about the Orcas.”  No one wants to hear that PETA may deny you of your right to take your child to the zoo. They are just not going to admit that.

Ingraham did not press Kerr on if the ruling could have implications for farm animals – I wish she would have. But, James McWilliams addresses the issue in his article How PETA’s Lawsuit Against Sea World Could End Factory Farming published in The Atlantic. McWilliams certainly had nothing nice to say about “industrial ag” or “factory farming” but he gives a pretty good synopsis of what is happening with the suit and what it could mean. I hope you will look at his article.

It will be interesting to see the court’s decision on this case. I have not seen anyone make predictions yet. But, if you have young children, you might schedule your trip to see Shamu soon and pay attention to the Orcas. What happens to them might someday affect your ability to raise pigs.

Archived: Best invention of all time

What is the best invention of all time? Is it your smart phone? The automobile? The computer? Some advancement in medicine? Ask this question and you’ll likely get a different answer from everyone you ask.

Agriculture – that’s the answer Dr. Jonathon Foley, the director of the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota, provided at a recent pork industry conference.

Setting the stage

During the presentation, Foley explained how the food system serves the world population and how it impacts the environment.

  • Today’s food system is failing 2 of 7 people on the planet because:
    • 1 billion people are hungry, and
    • 1 billion people are overweight.
  • To feed the world in 2050 we will need to produce twice as much food as we do today. By 2070 we’ll need three times the food we produce today.
  • 40 percent of the all land on earth is devoted to food production.
  • Agriculture is the largest source of water pollution on the planet.
  • 30-35 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions are from agriculture – for comparison, electric generation is 15 percent and manufacturing is 20 percent.
  • 1 percent of all global energy is used to move food.
  • In just the last 20 years:
    • 28 percent more crop production on 2-3 percent more farmland.
    • 7 percent more harvested land with 19 percent higher yields per acre.

While these are significant improvements, they aren’t enough to keep pace with demand while lowering the environmental cost of food production.

The road map

Foley offered four steps to address the need for food and to protect the environment at the same time.

Slow the expansion of agriculture – any expansion of existing production areas (i.e. land use) will come at a huge environmental cost. Foley estimates halting expansion of agriculture lands would decrease greenhouse gas emissions at 12-15 percent.

Close yield gaps – Raise all yields, but especially those that are lowest. There is always an opportunity to increase yields in Iowa, but the real gains can be made by increasing yields in other parts of the world – eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union bloc countries have huge opportunities to increase yields. These opportunities exist in many parts of the world. Closing yield gaps could add 55-60 percent to food production.

Improve efficiency in resource use – Today there are huge variations in the amount of crop produced per drop of water used. Narrowing these variations could greatly increase food production.

Close diet gaps – How much of our crop production goes to human consumption? About 60 percent. Another 35 percent goes to livestock production and 5 percent goes into fuel production. Changes to crop usage could increase food calorie production by 50 percent. Reducing food waste would increase availability by 30 percent. Consider this – feeding grain to hogs is a far more efficient converter of crops to food than feeding it to cattle.

How I see it

So, why have I spent a page sharing this information? I feel strongly that this is something we need to think about. Historically, we’ve thought of people who are concerned about how we care for the environment as the bad guys. It should be clear to all of us now that every decision we make ultimately has an impact on the environment and our consumers are placing more emphasis on minimizing that impact. Simply, saying “we need to feed the world, leave us alone and let us do it,” is not sufficient.

Foley concludes that none of these options would work alone, but when you take the benefits of all four steps together, we could double food production and cut environmental damage in half. There is little margin for error, but agriculture has been the greatest invention in the history of man and continuing that kind of innovation will allow us to feed an ever-growing world and protect our environment.