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Why Do Farmers Burn Their Fields?

Why Do Farmers Burn Their Fields?

You might have come across that distinct smell of burning grass over the last week or so if you live in the Midwest. It’s that time of year where area farmers and ranchers are conducting a controlled burn in order to maintain the ecosystem and improve the health of fields through increased plant diversity and vigor.

Thousands of years ago, lightning strikes were nature’s way of maintaining prairies and grasslands. Today, controlled—or prescribed—burns are calculated and organized in advance. Burning fields help remove plants and dead matter and help the plants that are about to come up. It also helps put nutrients back into the soil once the dead plant matter is broken down.

Farmers make sure to pay attention to the weather and field conditions—as it must be just right in order for things to stay maintained. Usually, it is in the springtime when the ground is still wet and there is high humidity and very little wind.

Area Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) offices offer a wealth of resources to farmers who want to manage their private ground effectively. They offer training and information, such as fire weather forecast availability, to ensure farmers create a burn plan suitable for their operations and neighboring ground.

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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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