ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
We salute the award winners chosen by the Marion County Conservation District for 2001. Good farmers have always been on the ground floor of basic, fundamental environmentalism. And we mean “ground” literally. They are not just toilers of the soil. They are keepers of the soil. And in many ways, they are keepers of our soul. Their care for the earth keeps us all living and growing.
Few things are more basic than the ground we walk on, the water we drink and the air we breathe. Farmers interact intimately with all three. They have to. Not only are these things the source of the livelihood, but the essence of life itself. For them and for all of us.
Farmers don’t have a lot to be excited about economically these days. Prices are low, yields have been uneven, expenses are high. In spite of that, they keep on doing what they need to do-not only to try to make a living, but to make sure the attempt is done right. It would be easy to cut corners and get lazy about soil conservation these days. But the good farmers won’t do it. It’s not just economics for them. It’s morality.
As we take care of the earth, it will take care of us. Congratulations to our conservation heroes for their achievements-those heroes who will receive awards later this week and the many who won’t, but who carry on anyway for the benefit of all of us.