I work for the Department of Environmental Quality and I'm a Christian and a long-time student of the Bible, so I know it is our duty to care for and preserve the beautiful world God gave us. It makes me so sad when people want to take all of a natural resource to maximize profit, then leave a big mess in the environment. However, I am also sad when rampant over-regulation and misunderstanding constantly points the finger at agriculture as a major polluter.
I think farmers and ranchers are the best folks we have in this country and a few bad apples have given agriculture a bad name as being environmentally unfriendly. It is such hard work and so difficult to make a living, but some of us just feel driven to make our livelihoods this way. It is a wholesome lifestyle to work outside and work hard for a living, and there is just something that drives us to keep at it. I feel it--for some reason I just have to keep goats. I love them so much and I love being outdoors caring for them. I have been at this for 13 years without making a profit--sometimes I come close to breaking even. It's heartbreaking when they sicken and die, I have fencing and irrigation emergencies, it can be one drama after another--most people are completely bemused that I would keep sticking with it, but other country people would understand.
Along with commandments to be good stewards of the land, one of God's first commandments was to dominate the world. And humans do dominate. There is just no way to argue that we have an effect on the natural world wherever we go. It is such a shame and such a pity that historically, this has been a negative effect--to take all we can get, kill all the native plants and animals, and leave devastation for future generations. However, God's commandment to dominate was to take care, tend, and nurture the land while we got what we needed from it to be a strong, healthy, productive people.
Farmers and ranchers come the closest to fulfilling this commandment, as far as I can see. They are the ones who truly care for their land, making it productive and rich, feeding and clothing us all, while keeping the land fully-functioning to pass it down to future generations. As science continues to improve, we need to help the farmers to be more productive, more nurturing of the resource, and more