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Public opinion important to future of agriculture

Farming is a global business these days — what happens on the far side of the world often impacts what farmers in the Southeast plant and how they market their crops.

Farming is also a local business and how the public perceives agriculture goes a long way toward influencing state and federal elected officials, who make the laws that govern agriculture. For the most part our elected officials don’t really understand what farming is all about and don’t have unified voice to explain it to them.

Food safety is a big public issue, yet the estimated 6-7 million tons of potentially toxic municipal waste that goes on farm land each year is not a public issue — at least not yet.

In Virginia, for example, there are about 8.5 million acres of farmland, but only 55,000 acres are treated with biosolids, a legal, but euphemistic term for municipal sludge.

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