|Farming in the Cannon River Region:
What Stuff Do We Need?
Environmental Studies 399: Senior Seminar
reorientation of the mind
In the Cannon River Watershed, 90% of the land is cultivated (Carlson, et al. 4) and many citizens in the region are farmers. Those who are not farmers associate their home with the rural, agricultural landscape. As members of the Cannon River watershed, we all maintain a certain amount of pride, or identity, because of the agricultural practices in the area. In fact, there is a sign that welcomes visitors to Northfield by bragging, "Northfield: Home of Cows, Colleges, and Contentment."
As a part of this rural identity we understand farms to be a provider of resources, rather than a consumer of resources. Farmers, we think, are producers of food and ethanol, not consumers of raw materials. Yet, through the mechanization of farming this has become less and less the case. I believe that the breadth and depth of resources needed to farm is not apparent to the average citizen, therefore:
This research projects asks the question: what global resources and relationships are necessary to maintain 1 acre of conventionally farmed, Cannon River region farmland planted with corn?
It is my hope that this project will help Northfield residents become aware of the ties that local agriculture has with distant places. For farmers, the results of this project may cause a re-orientation of the mind regarding their business practices. For city-dwellers, the results may foster a deeper understanding of the agricultural land that they identify with. For all of us, it will be an eye-opening experience.
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