From the Ground Up: Modern day challenges loom as growing season begins

Published: May. 6, 2022 at 11:11 AM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - As a war rages on and the conversation around a changing planet continues to evolve, a common thread can be found when looking for a solution. Whether seen as a challenge, opportunity, or a little of both, agriculture producers will play a key role in how we keep today’s problems from becoming tomorrow’s disasters.

″Ag has been seen as, sort of the bright star, in terms of there Is an ability to sequester carbon in the soil,” says Joe Outlaw, the Co-director of Agriculture and Food Policy Center at Texas A&M. “People are looking to agriculture and saying ‘hey, do you want to participate in this opportunity?’”

An intriguing opportunity for producers could be on the horizon.

“I won’t call it a market, yet. As an economist, there’s not really a market yet, per say.”

Outlaw says this may not be the best time for producers to take advantage, namely because of the War in Ukraine.

“A major export market has basically been eliminated overnight.”

Ukraine is one of the largest exporters of wheat and corn, and that has a huge effect on the global market, even here at home.

“What we’re seeing is the start of some of the highest food prices you or I will ever see in our lifetime, I think,” says Outlaw.

So the food we eat and the food for the food we eat is getting more expensive, here, and abroad. But if producers can capitalize on the high prices, Outlaw says this may give some longer term benefits.

“In this country we have great opportunities for producers, IF you can make your crop, which is hard. If you can make your crop, you can sell it for more than in your lifetime.”

Still, when it comes to saving the world by feeding or storing carbon, Outlaw says the timing may not be there just yet.

“You’re running a business first, and doing the right thing for the planet sometimes means we’re going to let the right things line up first.”

Another set of challenges AND opportunities that producers will look to meet, just like they’ve always done, from the ground up.

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