Our farmland is infrastructure that we can't afford to lose

To the editor:

Superior Ag is a local farmer-owned cooperative, with over 3,000 member-customers throughout Southern Indiana. As the Board of Directors for Superior Ag, we are reaching out to express concerns of the Mid-States Corridor project. Our note is for the planning committee to please reconsider the need for this project to its entirety.

Every day, American farmers and agricultural retailers make on-farm conservation decisions that impact almost a billion acres. Even our local farmers utilize the most innovative technology and exercise sustainable and environmentally friendly management practices throughout their operation. It’s our local farmer’s behaviors that safeguard their land to support their livelihood, allowing their farms to pass on to the next generation.

Almost 31 million acres of farmland irreversibly was lost in a 20-year span back in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. That’s three acres gone every minute. An area the size of Iowa is no longer available to produce food, fiber and biofuel. Land that we are going to need in the future, is gone forever. The United States is blessed with more arable land than any other nation on earth — arguably our greatest resource. Perhaps because of this abundance, we take our land for granted. But that cannot continue, not if we hope to leave our grandchildren a livable planet.

Our community has a code of preserving its historical heritage. But just because the land appears to be “open”, the farmland is what it is today because of the hardworking and dedicated farmers that have preserved it to its current state.

Farmland grows our food, supports our rural communities and contributes a trillion dollars a year to America’s economy. Well-managed farmland protects wildlife, controls floods, suppresses fires and protects our water and natural resources. It also provides open space for recreation that many Americans cherish. Beyond that, farmland offers a unique tool to combat climate change, a way to sequester carbon through natural means that improves our soil.

Please reconsider cutting through scores of rich area farmland, fracturing homes and livelihoods, barging through wetlands, forests and limestone formations across multiple counties throughout Southern Indiana. Our future depends on having enough farmland to both feed us and our entire country. And this requires a holistic vision of the future; one that acknowledges farmland as irreplaceable infrastructure we cannot afford to lose; that sees farming practices that retain topsoil and rebuild soil health as necessary if that land is going to serve us in perpetuity; and that views farmers as stewards of the land, worthy of our fervent support — because, at heart, what farmers do is for all of us.

—Superior Ag Board of Directors

District 1 (Dubois County)
Scott Balsmeyer
Clarence Betz
Terry Gress
Pat Messmer

District 2 (Perry & Spencer County)
Mike Cochenour, Chairman of the Board
Scott Mullis

District 3 (Gibson County)
Ed Horrall
Adrian Stunkel

District 4 (Vanderburgh & Warrick)
Dale Downey
Tim Mueller

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