AmericanFarm.com

‘The Age of Ag Ignorance’ (Editorial)

(March 24, 2015) Forty years ago this month, a farm newspaper which two years later would become The Delmarva Farmer, rolled off the press in Easton, Md.
There was no celebration, simply the realization, as we stood there listening to the roar of the press, that the mission was under way.
It was indeed, a three-fold mission — to give agricultural news, traditionally ignored by the general media — the prominence that it deserves; to provide an area ... a pasture or paddock of sorts, if you will ... where all segments of the industry could interact; and to become, over the years, “the voice ” of agriculture in what we hoped would be a widening sphere of influence.
We have, we believe, filled that mission, but we have not fulfilled it.
It is a mission without end. The mission continues.
Through the course of history, revolutions — we refer here specifically to cultural revolutions — come and go. We are in the midst of another.
There are those — their numbers far exceed ours — who would demobilize the agricultural industry, who would overthrow or abandon traditional forms of agricultural production; and who would, in that course, portray the farmer as a villain and the traditional forms of agricultural production as destructive and a violation of their environmental code.
All of this, of course, while eating to gain strength for another assault.
Two truths, however, prevail: Only the affluent and the well-fed have time or energy to join this revolution, and, secondly, through history, not a single wheel of industry has turned until the first seed was planted.
We have moved away from agriculture.
Earth is no longer Mother. Fewer than two percent of us till the soil.
Children no longer journey over the hills and through the woods to Grandmother’s house. Grandmother and Grandfather no longer live on a farm.
Welcome to the “Age of Ag Ignorance.”
In these days, our mission has been modestly refined.
We see it as germinating the seed of understanding of agriculture in our world and, in the process, plowing under the fields of ignorance.
A huge challenge, certainly. But we will give it our best shot, as always.

—E. RALPH HOSTETTER
Publisher