You would have to have been living on Mars to have missed the troublesome news about farming. There are nearly 7.9 billion of us, and we definitely all eat. And the way we’ve produced food from the end of World War II until now has caused grave damage—not just taking wild places for new farmland but increasingly squeezing nature out of the land we have farmed for centuries. I’m a farmer, so this isn’t an easy thing to write.

It sometimes feels like this is a lousy age to be a farmer, because whatever we do we are subject to endless criticisms. But in the past few years I’ve come to believe that this is also one of the most exciting times in history to be a farmer—because the problems we face are solvable.