Sunday, November 6, 2016

Let's Talk Politics

Welcome back!

I'm so glad you've decided to join in on yet another adventure with Dallas's Dabbles. Today I'm going to step a little outside of my comfort zone and talk politics. But wait! Before you throw your hands up in exasperation and exit my blog, let me first share the understanding I have of the importance of having a political voice. Currently in our congress are several persons who have never set foot on a farm or ranch. They may not always understand why we agriculturalist have concerns surrounding seemingly simple concepts such as water rights, right to farm policies, the selling dollar for cash crops/trade commodities and free trade agreements with international companies. Yet they are the ones who make laws that could drastically change our livelihood.You can bet your britches we are going to want someone in office who makes being an agriculturalist less stressful. The only question is, how do we make our voice heard?
Political Discussions
Political discussions can be both a blessing and a curse. Either way, they are a vital function that allow nth generation farms or even brand new ones to have a voice in government policies that effect their way of life. There are both good things and not-so-good things about each bill or legislative piece that passes through the Capital Hill in your state. Today I want to take a look at some of the more recent agricultural activity in our government and discuss some pits and peaks of pollinator bills. 

What is a pollinator? This is one of the first things we need to define before we begin delving into legislation involving pollinators. According the U.S. National Park Service, "A pollinator is anything that helps carry pollen from the male part of the flower (stamen) to the female part of the same or another flower (stigma)". Included, but not limited to are: butterflies, lizards, birds, bees and insects. In order to maintain a steady crop and food source, we MUST have pollinators.Our current pollinator population is suffering; down to 2.5 million colonies from 6 million in 1947. Though we cannot pinpoint and blame one specific crisis for the massive wipe-outs, we can begin to take cautious and preventative methods within our government that at least 9 other states are participating in. 

Some Issues at Hand
Pesticides are a hot speaking point it seems like no matter where I go. They are also publicly believed to be a major contributor to pollinator decline. Though we do not currently have sufficient evidence to support that the pesticides used are what's actually causing the decline, we are taking preventative measures in our agricultural policies. Som
e states like Washington and California have adopted a policy that mandates farmers use pollen rich plants in place of weedy cover crops to support pollinator habitats in the off-season. Other measures, such as total habitat restoration, are also underway. 

So if I'm Not a Farmer, How are Pollinator Bills Going to Effect Me? 
You don't have to be a farmer to see the effects of pollinator bills. Many of the traditional methods that farmers use are to keep cost inputs down so that consumers can benefit from cheap groceries. If agriculturalists must find new, more costly ways to produce the same food, you can bet (but not too much) on seeing a significant rise in food prices. Despite that is kinda sucks we might have to pay more for food, regulating pesticide use that may harm pollinators is a great sustainability method. I would rather pay more for food than not have any available to me at all. Once our pollinators are gone, we will not be able to sustain life for very long on our own.