2 May 2010 - The Schohr Family Says it All

A few weeks ago I urged all of you to become more involved in telling the positive story of American agriculture. What a job some of you have done, particularly the Schohr family in California; brothers Ryan and Steven and their sister Tracy worked together to write an Op-Ed piece that was printed in the San Francisco Chronicle on April 22nd. Let me share some of what the Schohr family had to say.

"As you celebrate Earth Day today, be thankful you live in a country where you have access to affordable and healthy food. It is because of our family farming business and others like it that each day Americans have a variety of the world's best fruits, nuts, vegetables, grains and meats. We are the fifth-generation to raise cattle and rice, and our families, on the same land. We have lessons passed down from our father and grandfathers on how to work in balance with nature to produce food from the land. At the same time, we use cutting-edge technologies like GPS that help us use resources more economically and efficiently.

"Making a living from the land is not easy, but it's how we support our families and communities. As agricultural producers, we comply with ever-changing environmental regulations to ensure water that's used to produce our food supply remains clean, and that the fertilizers, feed, seed and energy necessary to grow the food are safe for the environment and your families, as well as ours. Our farming operation exists in harmony with nature. Day and night, we see the wildlife that depends on our farming operations. Species such as deer, rabbits, pheasants, turkeys and even wildflowers can be found on the rangelands grazed by our cattle. Did you know that 75% of all threatened and endangered species depend upon private lands?
Our rice fields, which lie in the Pacific Flyway, provide forage to thousands of migratory waterfowl each year.

"Our parents instilled in us a love of the land, family and hard work, but also an understanding of the economics necessary to remain in business. It's important for all Americans to help keep farmers in business, which in turn helps protect open spaces, keep urban sprawl in check, promote carbon sequestration and protect wildlife habitat. It is time for those who care about the environment to join forces with the family farmers and ranchers to protect farms as well as nature."

What an outstanding job by the Schohr family! This is proof again that individuals can make a difference. I would suggest you take the ideas they expressed, add some local touches and submit them to newspapers in your area.

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