Meeting Agriculture's Environmental Challenges: Agribusiness's Role

Zimprich, Jeffrey
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Agriculture has always been a business full of challenges and gambles. A look at today's producers and the choices they have with new technology, unknowns in the weather, etc., quickly points out that the questions are not becoming fewer or any easier to answer. At the same time producers try to make the correct production and marketing decisions, most try to balance these economic interests with environmental and farm improvement goals. Today's Iowa farmers have environmental issues facing them related to the 1985 and 1990 Farm Bills, the Clean Water Act, etc.. Presently, Americans of all walks of life, including farmers, are growing more concerned about our environment, the safety of our food supply and many other issues that will affect farmers directly. What new environmental issues will the 1995 Farm Bill and the Clean Water Act reauthorization bring? How can farmers continue to raise more bushels of corn and soybeans? Will commodity prices go up or will farmers have to learn ways to cut costs, or both? The real challenge is that all these issues are interrelated. The answer to this complex equation comes in total resource management which will have to blend the best of crop production practices with resource conservation for a profitable, sustainable, environmentally sound farm.