Scenic USA - Pennsylvania
Snyder County Farm Country
|Photos by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Artist Website
As Route 522 passes through Pennsylvania's Ridge and Valley landscape, one can't help but notice the rich valley farmland on both sides of the highway. Central Pennsylvania is well known for its agricultural leadership, and here you'll see one picturesque farm scene after another. This idyllic pasture setting and old Mail Pouch barn (inset), west of Selinsgrove, may remind many seniors of the days when farm life seemed so much simpler.
Twenty-first century reality means more mouths to feed, questionable farming practices, limited sources of fresh water and a notable warming trend. Current predictions indicate there will be nine billion people to feed by 2050. America’s traditional agriculture practices will need to double their output over the next 40 years to keep pace. While modern pesticides and weed killers have helped make farming much more productive, they have also posed serious health risks in the long term. Glyphosate and its surfactant ingredients combine to create a powerful weed control agent, but traces of this toxic mix are found in strawberries, lettuce, carrots and even wild blueberries. Acutely toxic to fish and birds, glyphosate has been detected a half mile away from its application site. After an agreement reached in New York State, Monsanto will no longer use the phrase environmentally friendly or the term biodegradable in its Roundup advertising.
Weather patterns are also changing and studies show a warmer Arctic has altered the course of the jet stream. A weakened jet stream by as much as 14 percent this past year equaled to 14,000 warmer weather records, compared to 700 cold records set.
With all these uncertainties in our future, it's safe to say that past history shows a resilient population, filled with innovative ideas and a charitable nature. Yet, it's hard to imagine sustaining this type of unprecedented growth.
Mail Pouch Barn
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