On Monday, A-FAN intern Lukas Fricke had the opportunity to speak at the 2013 Rural Futures Conference – Beyond Boundaries – which encourages all of us to step beyond our boundaries and work together to create positive rural futures. He gave the following "quick pitch" for A-FAN:
According to Jeff Simmons president of Elanco, today food security is far from a reality. “There’s been a lot of focus on (feeding) the 9 billion,” said Simmons. “ It is the next seven years that will experience the fastest part of that growth with 3 billion being classified as middle class by 2020”. he added.
Through focusing on youth development, infrastructure reconditioning, we will be able to understand how protein production will benefit rural Nebraska and in turn feed our neighbors.
Lets dirty our boots by first stepping into the puddle of youth.
We can increase the mentoring of our youth with animal agriculture through the involvement with elder agriculturists.. As well as increasing the availability of first time loan’s given to startup farmers by local banks and businesses. Creating relationships that help transition the traditions and legacy of animal production is key to helping young farmers continue and expand food production in Nebraska.
Yet, by slipping on those mud and manure mashed muck boots we need to remember to continue the rural synergy of modern livestock production through: Infrastructure.
I might not have been born quite yet but, the 1989 hit movie Field of Dreams helps weave infrastructure, rural nebraska, and livestock perfectly.
If you build it they will come.
With the growing age of the current farmer we have more than enough available farm based infrastructure. Yet, these facilities need some modernization to increase protein production and increase overall rural environmental sustainability.
Think about infrastructure this way. You have a herd of cows. Those cows need to be transported, using local roads, semi-trucks bought from a nebraska dealer, that are filled up with the local COOPs diesel. Those drivers stop into the quickshop for a burger, that is made by the high school girl behind the counter that wants to go to UNL for photography (she’s saving up for college). During her career at the university she comes back to take pictures of the herd for a photo display at the local senior center and community hall. And throughout the entire process, rural development is occurring in both the economic and cultural planes. Because of a livestock based economy: roads were maintained, schools are able to thrive, and people are able to enjoy the good life.
So we have gotten our boots dirty and realized that livestock development is critical to the perspective of youth and infrastructure. Now if we add these integral pieces, what does protein production look like for rural Nebraska in the future? What does that growth mean for Nebraska livestock production?
Increasing demand, plain and simple. With the growing middle class comes the insatiable appetite for meat, milk, and eggs. We are developing the innovations and adding value through sustainable use of resources, feedstuffs, land, and water thus creating jobs and increasing population in Nebraska. If we work together as communities we not only grow economically but, culturally as well. Through the extra income generated that is spent for the wants of life or given back to foster cultural experience of rural Nebraskans.
Livestock production might get a whole lot easier if we slide into our boots, and get to work building Nebraska as a state rich in livestock, liberty, and the pursuit of the rural future.
Apple computer put it best. “People who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” And to say the least, I think I am pretty crazy.