To say that farming has changed over the last 200 years would be an understatement. We all know it’s happened, but what do these changes look like?
Every year, ISDA sponsors a statewide photo contest that allows participants to submit their best photos of agricultural life in Indiana. Categories include Conservation, On the Farm, Faces of Agriculture and Agritourism. Each of this year’s 13 winners offer a glimpse into what farming in the 21st century looks like. Below are three of my favorite photos with a bit of my personal commentary.
Fall Cover Crop, taken by Evan and Jessica Smith of Kokomo, Ind., captures a modern application of cover crops. Indiana is quickly becoming a leader in the use of cover crops. Cover crops are simply crops that are grown between the rows of traditional crops like soybeans and corn. This practice, which dates back to ancient India and China, reduces wind and rain erosion, improves soil structure and reduces the soil compaction.
Taken at Turkey Run State Park by Scott Roberts, In the Pouring Rain shows the natural beauty that can be found throughout our
state. As I look at this photo, I’m reminded that a key element of agriculture is conservation. Like it says on our website: “Stewardship of the environment is key to the continued viability of agriculture for generations to come.” Farmers and agribusiness know that better than anyone and strive to serve as wise stewards of the land and preserve beautiful places like this nook at Turkey Run.
At the heart of farming and agribusiness is community. That’s what’s communicated in Kristie Spear’s photo Honor System. Without a doubt, a vital component of agriculture is economics and sound business principles. But deeper than that is a desire to serve one’s neighbors and contribute to the welfare of the local, national and global community. And for one farmer in Parke County, that means putting her vegetables on a table and trusting people to pay what’s due into a tin can.
It’s said that a picture is worth a thousand words. And these three photos do much to describe the beauty and innovation of modern agriculture.
Are there any photos that you think capture the essence of farming in the 21st century?