Cover Crops and Voting

Cover crops are to soil health as voting is to our civic health.

You don’t get a crop of any sort to grow unless you plant seeds. Likewise, you don’t get democracy unless we cast our votes like so many seeds into the electorate soil.

Doubt has been cast about voting this year. Some say they fear the potential of fraud in mailed in ballots, although that fear has not produced much evidence of it being the case. In the meantime, political parties in a whole lot of states are vigorously trying to undermine both the legitimacy of voting by mail as well as the opportunity to vote at the polls.

Cover crops are still relatively new, so it can be reasonable to doubt whether they’ll have a desired effect on our corn and bean production. Despite decades of success stories, there are still those who either disbelieve or can’t be bothered. It does take effort, after all, to change management styles in the middle of a successful farming career.

But, unlike cover crop adoption, voting has been a foundation of our democracy for more than 200 years. Voting should not be a scary or suspicious activity, even vote-by-mail, which has been fraud free, convenient, and efficient for decades in some states.

It is important that voting be easy. Some countries offer national voting days as holidays, to increase the number of ballots cast. But more important than ease, it’s important for the integrity of our way of governance that elections include as many citizens as possible. More than 90 million voting age people in the US are not registered to vote. The percentage of voting age people who voted in the last general election (2016) was slightly over 55 percent! That’s among the lowest in the world, among so-called “developed” nations.

If the apathy about voting were to be extended into every aspect of our farming life, where would our farms be. If Fortune 500 companies figured they could turn a profit with just over half their employees showing up, or just over half the capitalization they needed, where would our economy be today?