Every step you take today impacts the environment. Today’s farmers and ranchers understand this better than anyone, said Steve Kouplen, a Beggs rancher and President of the Oklahoma Farm Bureau.
"We touch, smell and taste the environment with every breath as we move through the day, watching the ebb and flow of life on the land," Kouplen said. "We’re connected to the environment and we work extremely hard everyday to protect it."
Kouplen cites a myriad of statistics verifying his beliefs.
"Farmers and ranchers have enrolled 37 million acres of their land in the Conservation Reserve Program, protecting the environment and providing habitat for wildlife," Kouplen said.
"Farmers use conservation tillage on more than 112 million acres, reducing soil erosion and protecting water quality."
Other environmental facts pointed out by Kouplen:
• Total wetland acreage is 110.7 million acres, or 7 percent of the land area of the lower 48 states.
• Farmer-grown biofuels benefit the environment and promote energy security.
• Biotechnology benefits the environment by producing crops that protect themselves against insects and disease, require less tillage and less use of chemical weed control.
• Farmers and ranchers have a vested interest in protecting endangered species. More than 75 percent of species listed as endangered or threatened live on private lands.
"We are all responsible for protecting and nurturing the earth," Kouplen said. "Farmers and ranchers are doing their share, making sacrifices and investing in the land, ensuring its long- term survival."
The Farm Bureau leader adds today’s farm and ranch families are proud of their efforts taking care of the planet while at the same time producing an abundant, affordable food supply.