Inventing Down on the Farm
April 3, 2014
I was reminiscing with my father over the weekend about some of his adventures in farming. He just turned 95, so his tractor-driving days are well behind him, but there is still a spark for what he loved about the business of farming. Like all farmers, he was very entrepreneurial in his approach to growing crops and livestock.
He read everything he could get his hands on to keep up with the latest innovations in farming and outside of agriculture, too. Popular Mechanics and Popular Science were in the stack with his favorite farm magazines, and, as a result, he constantly tried the latest animal management techniques and created some very effective improvements to his equipment.
His entrepreneurial spirit is not unique among farmers. For him it was part passion for invention and part risk management in the operation. For some farmers this type of innovation becomes a business that grows to benefit all of agriculture. That spark of ingenuity in farming allows us to face the insurmountable task of feeding billions with hope of success.
Celebrating this drive to invent and change might seem reasonable, but our recent history informs us otherwise. Regulation of farming grows almost as fast as the rumors of even further regulation. What are the cumulative consequences of this man-made regulatory uncertainty?