It seems logical that the future of farming and ranching should be determined in large part by America’s farm and ranch families.

Most of us would be quite satisfied because our nation’s farm and ranch families are doing a better job than any previous generation in producing food, fiber and fuel and conserving natural resources.

Knowledge and experience passed from generation to generation of farmers and ranchers and scientific and technological advances have resulted in enormous progress in production agriculture. Why would anyone want to seriously tinker with it, especially when other essentials like energy and health care have far more pressing concerns and uncertain futures?

Yet, the dialogue about the future of farming in newspapers, television and over the internet often seems dominated by people who want to toss out the family farm and ranch system we have in this country in exchange for some radical new concept.

“Radical” is an understatement for some of the plans. In a recently published book, The Vertical Farm, Dickson Despommier, proposes that farms be relocated from the country to the city and stacked in high-rise buildings where city dwellers live and work nearby.

“The vertical farm is a neighborhood concept couched in futuristic terms, but with homespun intent. The things we trust most are the things we can see for ourselves,” he said, adding that locally grown food seems to taste better. In case you are wondering what becomes of cropland in this futuristic scenario, it would be replanted in hardwood trees or simply left alone.