I have been writing for the past two years about the difficulties of dry-land farming in Kansas during an long-term and continuing drought. This has been the worst drought for the state since 1965. It has, of course, affected our gardens. Insect invasion – especially grasshoppers - has been a challenge as the hoppers move to the only source of moisture available – gardens.
Our gardens were only an early indication of the stress on the environment. Pastureland yield was only half of the normal hay harvest and farmers were feeding hay as early as August and September. Although the wheat crop was adequate with spring rains, milo and soy bean crops were poor. As farmers planted wheat this fall, lack of rainfall prevented sprouting and that which did sprout has died back from lack of moisture.
In this second year of drought, we now find that wildlife in the area has suffered. Game reports indicate drought has resulted in high die-off of the deer population and poor fawning. Populations of quail and pheasant are low.
USA Today reported in August that many cities are by necessity preparing for climate change as increased heat and decreased moisture has killed off large ornamental trees and grasses. Major cities have begun preparation through better planting planning to include native trees and grasses. Programs have been established to increase composting and water conservation.
I cannot think of a better time to encourage agricultural and environmental awareness at all levels. Our children are going to face a different world than we have known. Climate change is a reality and the effects are real. We need every single person to help us preserve this precious earth.
As I packed a Christmas box headed for my son’s house this week, I threw in an old bumper sticker I found in the garage. It said “No farms, no food.” Never has the message been more important. We must all do more to learn the best way to protect and nurture our environment – for food and for life itself.
I know that readers of this blog are already on board, and are educating friends and family. As I see my own environment struggle, it motivates me to make just a little more effort to spread the message. Not only is it sad to see environmental abundance decline, it is frightening to think that that slogan is true – “No farms, no food.”