Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Oil is Sexy, but Agriculture is Forever.

One of my eldest daughter's first short sentences was "big boom".  She was referring to the dynamite demonstration at the visitors center at Mount Rushmore.
Well, that's what we've got going on in North Dakota right now- a Big Boom. Big Oil Boom.

It's thrilling and there is no question that all the oil activity has done great things for our state and I mean no negativity towards our friends and family working in the oil fields and those who own land where drilling is occurring.  Even hundreds of miles from the majority of the oil wells, we've benefited.  The oil boom makes just about every newspaper that comes to our front door. It's even on the national news.

However, with all that income, all that tax revenue, all those new jobs with all those big paychecks, all those new people, all that new construction, all the trucks, all the pipelines, all the easier it is to forget about the workhorse that has quietly and steadily kept our local economies, our state, and our nation secure and successful for generations. 

It's agriculture and it is forever.

The Wilson Farm in the early 1930's.
We farm here today with our children, who are the fifth generation of Wilson's on the place.

When the headlines fade about the millions (and billions) of dollars that are flowing thanks to the oil boom, agriculture will still be here.  Farmers and ranchers will still be working towards one of mankind's greatest endeavors- to feed, clothe and fuel the world's rapidly growing population, on less land, while using less water, less fuel, less labor, etc.  We are quite literally, growing much more with much less. 

According to Dr. Jude Capper, here are some of the amazing things we've been achieving in agriculture.  I'll focus on dairy, in honor of June being Dairy Month and my husband's great-grandfather, J. Harry Wilson, who was the first to bring dairy cattle to this part of the country.

Dr. Capper states, "Modern dairy practices require considerably fewer resources than dairying in 1944 with 21% of animals, 23% of feedstuffs, 35% of the water, and only 10% of the land required to produce the same 1 billion kg of milk."..."The carbon footprint per billion kilograms of milk produced in 2007 was 37% of equivalent milk production in 1944."

Read the full Journal of Animal Science article here:

We're seeing these trends in every sector of agriculture.  Making more with less.  It's not as sexy as the oil boom, but when the boom ends, or at least slows down, and it inevitably will, agriculture will be still be at the heart of our communities and it will still be at the helm of our economy.

Thanks for stopping by,
Sarah :)


  1. Hi Sarah,

    The same thing is happening here in Ohio with the recent oil boom. In the past couple of years every Joe has become an oil expert and mineral leases are offered and traded everywhere.

    It confusing and fustrating and has made it impossible for farmers to touch a piece of land that is offered for sale as the minerals are currently worth 10 fold the agricultural value.

    I agree with you though, when the boom is gone agriculture will still be here for future generations to enjoy

    1. Thanks for your comment Mike. I didn't realize you were going through some of the same things in Ohio! I wish you the best in farming with this "new normal".