Ag in America is not comprised of slack-jawed yokels wearing overalls and carrying pitchforks. It is driven by satellite guided mapping, tracking, fertilizer and harvesting. Science drives innovations resulting in higher yields on fewer acres, matching seed types with soil types with a match.com like intensity. Selling the product that is created by farmers is not a matter of hitching the team to the wagon and seeing if Widow Brown would like some eggs. It is a market driven event that has price discovery tools available via the internet and data reporting to allow farmers in Iowa to make decision on marketing based on Chinese national policy, Brazilian rainstorms, and the fickle predilections of the European Union regulatory agency.
Iowa produces more corn than every other country in the world except 3 (the US, China, Brazil). Agriculture as a whole makes up 10% of all exports from the US. . Iowa is a consistent leader in many ag production categories. Those exports account for over 250,000 jobs. Bags of U.S. grown commodities delivered to other nations are powerful ambassadors of U.S. policy and far more impactful than "boots on the ground" to drive a point home.
Ag is the great villain for many organizations with an agenda. From the MTBE backed politicians of California (Remember John Hunter, who did not even campaign in Iowa because he knew MTBE buttered his bread?), to PETA and other NIMBY (not in my back yard) organizations, all seek to grind this portion of our economy to a halt. For instance, the Humane Society of the United States has litigated round after round against horse slaughter, preventing zoos and pet owners from obtaining reasonably priced feed options for animals in their care.
These anti Ag activities have unintended consequences. All but four African countries, where the most population growth is expected, ban GMO organisms. According to current census information, over half the population Kenya is under 15 years old. How is Kenya to provide food and jobs for its people? Historically, populations whose people are hungry and jobless tend to break things and kill people. That is not good for growth and world order. In total, the population of the world adds the equivalent of the Des Moines metro area to the dinner table every day and 9 BILLION people in the world is not far off. What are they going to eat and who is going to grow it?
The resistance to Ag does not even have to be direct protest. Fighting against energy projects like natural gas pipelines and lock and damn repairs and upgrades all serve to stymie agriculture and its growth.
Yet, our congress cannot even seem to understand how to pass legislation that provides a framework for the Ag community to grow its product, protect its soils, and stay productive in terms of research and innovation.