Growing up on a small-town Iowa farm, I watched as my father and grandfather farmed their land for decades. Every season they plowed the fields, planted tiny seeds, and watched as it grew into tall stalks. They constantly worried if that year’s crop would perform as well, or better than the last. As soon as the vibrant green stalks turned to dull browns, they harvested vast quantities of the golden kernels. The landscape literally changed overnight, leaving the world around me stark and bare.
Almost every Iowa native with any opinion at all has one on farming and its effects on their local communities. Some promote the expansion of farming, while others advocate for the conservation of Iowa’s natural landscapes.
Regardless of opinion, increased planting of corn and soy for biofuels has lead to drastic loss and manipulation of Iowa’s natural landscapes and waterways without delivering expected reductions in emissions. Can those supporting the expansion of corn and soy production really claim the benefits outweigh the disadvantages? Local communities often rely on traditional agriculture, but maybe these communities are due for a change. It is time to promote more renewable sources of energy and help farmers discover new opportunities for more efficient, profitable practices. It’s time to be better than biofuels.