Positive connections between endangered species and modern agriculture might seem unlikely, but farmers and the entire agricultural industry have a profound responsibility to help protect native species and their habitats. CropLife America’s president and CEO, Jay Vroom, expressed this dynamic in a recent op-ed published by The Hill. The article stresses the need for greater cooperation between regulatory agencies in order to enact policies founded in scientific evidence and risk assessments, which will ultimately benefit both agriculture and endangered species. Vroom also highlights a number of lawsuits that have directed focus away from endangered species themselves and onto other agendas.
Looking beyond this complicated regulatory and legal landscape and to the field, today’s farmers must serve as conservationists, advocates and stewards to ensure the health of various species that are impacted by modern agriculture. As expressed by one farmer in California, “…as a farmer, whether or not you’re aware of it, you’re an environmentalist.” With those roles in mind, farmers do their work with the knowledge that they are part of a greater ecosystem in which plants, animals and people depend on the same resources.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) prioritizes biodiversity—the variety of life, including plants, animals and microbes—as “among the earth’s most important resources” and points to connections between agriculture and various species that help maintain the balance of our ecosystem. Re-focusing efforts on improving biodiversity, FAO states, will directly impact issues such as population pressure, land use and loss of natural habitat, global warming and food security.
After taking a closer look, the links between agriculture and endangered species protection seem obvious! Modern agriculture continues to evolve to encourage the global health of our ecosystem while allowing farmers to continue the work of producing food for our communities.