Local farmland loss as food demand grows

The need for solid land stewardship was brought

into sharp relief this week when the United Nations Food and Agricultural

Organization released a report finding that a quarter of the Earth's land is

highly degraded. Ag production has grown 2.5 to 3 times over the last 50 years

to keep up with demand, yet, often times, the practices used to accomplish

those gains further degrade and erode the available land, the report's authors

note. Still, demand continues to grow. "Toward 2050, rising population and

incomes are expected to call for 70 percent more food production globally, and

up to 100 percent more in developing countries, relative to 2009 levels,"

the report said. The 2007 Census of Agriculture estimated that Indiana had

14,773,184 acres of farmland, down nearly 752,000 acres from 1997. As our

farmland continues to be lost to other uses, Hoosiers must acknowledge the

connections between our land-use choices and our role as leading global food

source. We need to make sure we are preserving our soil, not paving it under or

washing it away with careless production practices.


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