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Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016

People and the land

Thursday, July 1, 2004

Even though we didn't own the land, most of our fathers, grandfathers and great grandfathers can recall farming as an art.

In today's world it's a blast from the past because farming is still an art with much to offer wildlife and the diversities that challenge us daily.

People who farm are blessed and unique in that they are the sole caretakers of millions of acres of fertile fields and woodlands.

Land-use decisions are made by farmers and the helpers today will have far-reaching effects for generations to come. We depend upon the farmer for many of our basic needs and products.

In providing us with food, fiber and timber products, farmers must cope with weather fluctuations, be flexible enough to deal with the supply and demand of perishable goods, and adjust to worldwide political policies which affect farm prices.

Their living is based on chance, whether it be that of losing a wheat crop in a hailstorm just before harvest, juggling high feed costs against low livestock prices, or dealing with the competition of foreign commodity trade.

In spite of the adversities farmers face, there is much satisfaction in running their own operation, working together as a family and sharing the fruits of their labors.

Farming, however, can involve extreme changes in the landscape, and because markets fluctuate, these land-use chances are cyclic.

Wildlife is a product of the land, so the farmer's land-use decisions affect wildlife populations; every activity undertaken on the farm affects wildlife, causing changes in the height and sometimes the variety and composition of plants in a particular pasture, hay or grain field, or wood lot.

Consequently, wildlife habitat is changed and these animals will either remove or die because the changed surroundings may not supply their basic needs.

The farm standard of living is measured not only by bushels of grain, pounds of meat and tons of forage produced, but also by the quality of life.

Wildlife adds to this quality, but it's abundance depends on the way the land is used.

By using good soil and water conservations practices and giving reasonable consideration to wildlife, farmers can provide for wildlife.