By Justin Walker
The world is constantly changing. And Texas agriculture is no exception.
The farms and ranches we see today are vastly different from those our grandparents grew up with, which were advanced compared to their grandparents.
Agriculture’s evolution is widely associated with technological advancements. Like GPS, self-driving tractors, automated technology, drones and biotechnology.
Land available for agriculture is shrinking. From 1997 to 2012, Texas lost roughly 1 million acres of open space—land classified as farm, ranch or forest. A vast majority of these changes occurred around the major metropolitan areas such as Houston, Dallas/Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio and El Paso.
But this isn’t just a concern in Texas. Agricultural land has decreased worldwide by two percent since 1991.
Urbanization has placed a greater demand on farms and ranches to produce more with less.
In 1960, one farmer could feed about 25 people. Today, one farmer can feed about 165 people. That’s thanks to modern agriculture’s efficiency.
That growing population continues to demand greater amounts of food, clothing and other agricultural byproducts. Between July 2016 and July 2017, Texas added almost 400,000 new residents, the largest numeric population growth by any state during that time.
Agriculture has had to adapt to keep up with the growing population.
But in doing so, farmers forgot to share what they were doing, growing a disconnect between agriculture and consumers.
Today, many folks are three—and sometimes four—generations removed from the farm. Their perceptions of farming evolved as agriculture adapted. They just didn’t always match.
Agriculture has some ground to make up. But farmers and ranchers are having conversations in the coffee shop, at the grocery store and online. They’re ready to share and show you what they do.
Times have changed. So has Texas agriculture. But what hasn’t is the passion of farmers and ranchers across the state. They care about the land, livestock and you.
That’s why I trust farmers and ranchers and their farming methods when it comes to the food on my plate.