My DNA is steeped in the heritage of generations of farmers and ranchers. I was born seven linear meters from the 12 cows we have. My parents and my 10 uncles and aunts make a living by raising land and animals (cows, pigs, chickens, rabbits, calves, horses, roosters, etc.). I grew up among tractors and plows. My family is the co-owner, along with thousands of other irrigators, of an irrigation system built by the Arabs in one of the few private reservoirs in Spain, inaugurated in 1913.
I say all this to state below that my connection with the culture of agriculture and livestock is complete. I say all this to express that my emotional education, created in childhood, was completely agrarian and animalistic.
Are the farmers in Europe and Spain right in their mobilization? My answer: in some things, yes. They are right to complain about the devilish bureaucracy, the unfair competition of some products that come in without following the same rules, the low prices, in general, of their products, the terrible economic damage due to extreme weather events, the lack of agriculture. insurance, with a little help given to them to change…
In the culture of rural Aragon, where I grew up, their thing is to say good and bad to their faces. Therefore, with my support for some of the just demands raised by the promoters of the mobilizations, I want to express my disagreement with some of the demands of the agrarian groups that Europe and Spain need less environmental policy.
Some of the protest manifestos that reached me reminded me of three questions I wanted to ask.
The first is: will your children and grandchildren be able to dedicate themselves to agriculture if you leave them as a legacy a land without worms, full of antibiotics and pesticides, very fertile, where there are very few beneficial bacteria to cooperate with plant roots? plants, no bees? I think you know the answer. No, they cannot survive in dying soil; they cannot thrive without pollinators.
The second question is not for tomorrow, but for today: will consumers of the food you sell continue to buy it if they doubt the health of what they are buying?
The third question is: in this crazy climate we are experiencing, can the agriculture practiced today work?
On the other hand, I was surprised when reading your claims: I did not see, within the complaints, any mention of the price of pesticides that you should use to fight pests. I have seen the entire agricultural economy collapse due to the massive increase in the frequency of fumigations. I was surprised at the silence on this big problem.
In my opinion, the great enemy of agriculture today is climate change and extreme atmospheric phenomena: drought, heat waves, untimely floods, fires, etc. Any farmer today knows that great fact. Against a bad climate, my grandfather Marcelino clearly said, the farmer can’t do anything. And farmers are right to ask for public assistance to help them adjust to the crazy climate we are experiencing.
There is no point in meeting the demands of some farmers if climate change continues to bring historic droughts, unbearable heat waves for plants and animals, repeated storms with hail… The climate, for agriculture, can make or break everything. If there is fertile soil and good weather, the plants will work. If both fail, the farmer’s will can do little.
For this great reason, all of us—people from the city and people from the countryside—must come together to stop climate change as much as possible. The people’s role is great, and no sector has been damaged by this emergency like the agri-food sector. That’s why they deserve all our support. And society, which has helped them so much and should continue to help them, deserves to know that greater income for farmers does not mean less healthy products for the citizens who buy them. And the children and grandchildren of the farmers deserve a good inheritance and a good legacy: fertile soil and a climate where plants thrive.