March 04, 2024

Rural Issues: Farming for today and also tomorrow

It amazes me how many people believe that sustainability is a new concept in agriculture. Those of you involved in production agriculture know sustainability is necessary to keep doing what you are doing.

If your farm is not economically, ethically and environmentally sustainable, it is not going to be successful over time.

United Nations member states adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in 2015. It is a shared blueprint “for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future.”

There are 17 sustainable development goals in the agenda:

• End poverty in all its forms everywhere.

• Eliminate hunger.

• Good health and wellbeing for all at all ages.

• Inclusive and equitable quality education for all.

• Gender equality.

• Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.

• Affordable, reliable, sustainable clean energy for all.

• Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.

• Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.

• Reduce inequality within and among countries.

• Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

• Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.

• Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

• Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

• Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.

• Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.

• Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development.

Lofty goals? Idealistic goals? Why should you care?

For such a utopia to exist, major changes must be made. Like me, most of you are on board with a world where we — and by “we” I mean all the people on this planet — meet our own needs without compromising the ability of all the future generations on this planet to meet theirs.

Unfortunately, it will not be entirely up to the citizenry of each country to determine how to best get there. Bureaucrats and politicians at every level in every country on the world stage want to have their fingerprints on this plan.

Some want to see it succeed for the right reasons. Many want to see it succeed for the financial gain or political power that will come to them through the process.

Some of those decision-makers will or have already imposed arbitrary and complex rules and regulations creating miles of red tape, processes and delays.

Many politicians have seen to it that their “friends” or supporters have been awarded advantages without any consideration for the actual ability to get those jobs done.

Cronyism. Politics over proficiencies.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch and on the farm, men and women are working hard to stay economically sound while taking the best care of the land, air, water and livestock so they leave it all a little better than when they became the stewards.

Cyndi Young-Puyear

Cyndi Young-Puyear

Cyndi Young-Puyear is farm director and operations manager for Brownfield Network.