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Protecting Tomorrow’s Land with Sustainability Practices on the Farm

Protecting Tomorrow’s Land with Sustainability Practices on the Farm

Today’s consumers demand more from agriculture. They are much more in-tune with how their food is grown and what impact that has on the environment. It’s not a new topic for farmers, as sustainability and environmental stewardship practices have been in place for many decades, yet, the challenges of evolving consumer preferences, a rapidly growing global population, the weather and climate changes have placed an emphasis on examining those practices even more. As reported by the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance, we have 30 harvests remaining before the world’s populations reaches 9 billion people, requiring a 70 percent increase in food production.

Managing land systems that advance crop protection, soil health, harvesting techniques, integrated pest management, and so much more are never-ending tasks for farmers. The economic benefits for land management practices focused on soil health are staggering. The Nature Conservancy shares that for each one percent of cropland in the U.S. that adopts an adaptive soil health system, an annual economic benefit translates to $226 million of societal value.

Farmers utilize various tools and practices in order to help make the best decisions for their crop production but also for maintaining the land for future generations.

The following are climate-smart practices being implemented across the U.S. today:

  • – No-till—a method of growing crops in which the soil is not disturbed through tillage. No-till management results in less use of machinery, fuel, irrigation resulting in less erosion and improved water retention.–
  • – Cover crops—a crop grown primarily for the benefit of the soil rather than a crop yield. Cover crops help suppress weeds, manage soil erosion and improve soil fertility and quality along with biodiversity.
  • – Variable-rate fertilizer application—a method that allows a variable amount of fertilizer to be placed on a field based on variations in the soil, sunlight or crop. It allows farmers to apply fertilizer only when needed and lessons environmental impact.
  • – Split application of nitrogen—allows for the use of the fertilizer, nitrogen, to be divided into two or more applications on a field allowing farmers to enhance nutrient efficiency and yield while decreasing nutrient loss.
  • – Annual crop rotation—a practice of rotating different crops over sequential seasons to improve soil nutrition and fertility while decreasing soil erosion.

While these practices are just a few of many new innovations and technologies being used to help nourish a growing planet while also creating a more sustainable food system, it is also important to have continuous improvement strategies in place to ensure the positive path towards appropriately utilizing resources, addressing gaps, and extending the life cycle of usable land.

LifeLine Foods, and its member-owners, look forward to helping develop and implement strategies that preserve the land and environment while also keeping up with the demand for a healthy and sustainable food supply.

 

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Thanks for reading my blog, A Bushel and A Plate.

As a mom who cares about eating good food and knowing the farmer who grew my food, I want to help other families to nourish your families with good, traceable, sustainable food.

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