I loved this time of year as a kid. I would spend time driving around the orchard on the Honda Trail 90, watch the Peterson’s harvest Christmas trees next-door and ship them to the Midwest, work at the mink ranch during pelting season and help Bomps close up the tractor. As the cold damp rainy weather set in until 4th of July it was time to make account for the field season. The ups and downs, the blessings, lessons learned, winterize the equipment, and determine what to do for the next field season if blessed to have another one.
I have come to think of life in the terms of a field or growing season. In American agriculture and climate we are always trying to lengthen the season but in the end we generally get just one. This past growing season has been filled with blessings, challenges, and adventure, however it is the next growing seasons ahead that have me striving forward. Why?
The general consensus is that roughly 870 million people in the world are still chronically undernourished and 16 million of those are from developed countries (FAO, 2012 (1)). The world population is primed for an increase of 9.1 billion by 2050, which will demand a 60% increase in agricultural production. This increase has to also take into account the good soil that remains, sustainability, economic viability, yield increases on existing land, and the ongoing debates over the use of GMOs (Genetically Modified Organism) and total effect climate change on farmable lands (FAO, 2012 (2)).
As we roll into 2013 I am reminded that 2050 is just 37 field seasons away. If seasons remain reasonably stable when the first tractor breaks ground in 2050 I will only be 76. As I look to the next growing season as a person who deals with farmers and some of the 870 million chronically undernourished daily I am reminded of the lesson I learned growing up – every growing season is different and growing season matters.
Therefore, if I going to impact 2050, whether I am the husband, dad, scientist, farmer, preacher, or runner THIS next field season must be better than last because the last season is in the field notes and almost closed.
Preparing the Soil for Harvest
FAO (1) The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2012. The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2012 is published jointly by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the World Food Programme. Released October 8, 2012.
FAO(2) World Agriculture Towards 2030/2050: The 2012 Revision. ESA E Working Paper No. 12-03. Released June 2012.