Earth Day, April 22 this year, celebrates the magnificence of our planet’s natural resources—the majestic mountains, the flowing streams, forests, the prairies, the lowlands, the coasts, oceans, and the frozen landscapes.
It also implores us to respect, revere and protect those resources. It is one day set aside to promote conservation of soil, water and air—something we all ought to do daily.
Those of us fortunate enough to work in agriculture see that reverence for natural resources in action. Farmers and ranchers live off the land. They know, better than anyone, that exploiting the soil results in lost productivity; polluting streams threatens their water supply and their ability to irrigate crops and water livestock; poor soil stewardship creates ideal conditions for dust storms.
They understand the financial incentives of protecting natural resources, but the commitment comes from a more personal feature—they have a deep, abiding reverence for the land and are dedicated to making it better than they found it.
On Earth Day, we remember farmers and ranchers, stewards of the land.