Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

How Can Wall Street Learn from a Farmer This Thanksgiving?

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

How Can Wall Street Learn from a Farmer This Thanksgiving?

Article excerpt

While recently attending the Wall Street Journal Global Food Forum, I was struck by the discrepancies in cultures between farmers and Wall Street. I also was surprised by the inconsistency in common facts about the carbon footprint of today's farmers.

U.S. agriculture only accounts for 9 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. It is also important to keep in mind this carbon is from biogenic carbon, which comes from natural sources and is cycled by mother nature. A majority of our society's carbon emissions actually originate from fossil fuels.

When we look at the juxtaposition of seemingly different worlds between Wall Street and food production, many of the key insights about the future of agriculture are from the top down. If 48 percent of our land is in the stewardship of America's farmers, maybe we should ask them too, especially when we honor the harvest this Thanksgiving. These farmers are the solution in drawing down carbon; they hold the most potential in solving for climate change. Apart from the basics of carbon science, there is a lot to learn.

In one word, it is stewardship.

Over and over again, I hear about sustainability across the food supply chain. But in order to advance sustainability, you first need stewardship, which are the values and commitment to leave your land or business in better condition for the next generation. On the farm, leaving a legacy isn't solely planting for this season's harvest or raising a single herd of animals.

Farming is looking ahead 10 to 20 years, making decisions now based on what will be best for their land then. Day-to-day decisions consist of monitoring technology, soil tests, weather patterns and a lot of hope. Their business isn't just driven by quarterly returns, but by a far deeper sense of responsibility to the land, their children and grandchildren. …

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