How to Strengthen U.S. Agriculture
Article written by guest writer Rin Mitchell
What’s the Latest Development?
Before the crisis, agriculture thrived because the U.S. had immigrants from Latin America and Mexico to work in the farmlands to ensure good harvest year round. For immigrants, it was a foot in the door to obtaining the American Dream. Once the crisis hit and left a lot of people jobless and desperate for work, they began eyeing the jobs occupied by immigrants. There was an outcry over immigrants, mainly illegal, occupying jobs that locals could use. However, there are reasons certain jobs are mostly filled by immigrants—most of them are laborious and pay low wages. Two things many Americans want to avoid. Since the government started cracking down on illegal immigration, there has been a significant drop in farmland production, and now the fields are rotting away. According to 2009 USDA data sets, American farm productivity is below the economy-wide average. Based on reports, America has sustained agricultural productivity due to the ability to export a large net of agricultural goods. The exports allow for imports such as oil and consumer goods, and in order to continue receiving input—the U.S. needs to keep up with output demands. Reportedly, the best way to continue meeting the demands and getting stronger in agricultural is to keep farmlands in existence—which means freeing up more land for farm use. Reports also indicate that “about 125 million acres of American land have gone out of cultivation” in the past 40 years. Regulations in urban and suburban territories on population density, as well as “excessive restrictions on apartments and townhouses,” and company buildings in the city have tended to push construction out into farm territory.
What’s the Big Idea?
Restrictions on city building need to be lessened, so space for farmland can be preserved. The U.S. needs to get dedicated workers back out to till the farm land. If that means hiring immigrants, then so be it. Immigrants should be able to obtain work and residency visas to work on U.S. farmlands, so their jobs will be secured. These investments in the revival of the farmlands will ensure the strength in America’s agriculture.