Amy’s 4 years in FFA gave her an opportunity to study agriculture science and the farming business in the late 1990’s when factory farming was the all the rage. Since those times, our food system has been through an evolution that has left our small family farms barely able to justify their practice as anything more than a very science intensive, time consuming and expensive hobby.
For centuries, our farmland has contributed to feeding Ohioans, Americans and beyond. Farmers have had to endure good years and terrible years when it came to their harvests, which are dependent upon Mother Nature and markets. The 2018 net median farm income for US farm households was -$1,548.00 after deducting for family living expenses and debt obligations according to David Widmar of Successful Farming. This number is sobering because the median means that half of US Farmers earned less than -$1,548.00. This is not a living wage for even a bumble bee, let alone a family.
Farmers are also in a position to make sure our environment is healthy and sustainable for future generations. Given the delicate systems we face in terms of water quality in our lakes, creeks, and rivers; we must recognize that our farmers are the keepers of the land, and thus our collective health. What and how farmers grow, their crops and livestock, directly affects the health of the land, water systems and the overall health of the community.
We must give them options to grow crops that are healthy for the environment, reducing the need for expensive, chemical applications that pose health risks to themselves and their neighbors.
We must give them options and incentives to grow and sell to alternative markets such as hemp paper pulp and fiber. These buffer crops help to protect our recreational lakes, rivers and creeks from toxic algae blooms and buildups of residual chemicals that collect in the food system through fish and other aquatic life consumed by our wildlife and people.
Amy knows that farmers have pride in what they do, and she will adamantly support their efforts to have a seat at the table when it comes to legislation that affects their bottom line and the health of the environment and people of their communities.