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April 22, 2019
Earth Day is recognized each year on April 22nd and what started under the bipartisan leadership of a US Senator and Congressman in 1970 has now grown into a world-wide event celebrated in 193 countries. Agriculture is an extremely important economic and environmental component of the US covering nearly one-half of the lower 48 states with 900 million acres in farms and ranches. Cropland covers about 44% of the total ag land in the country with grazing land at 45% and woodlands/other comprising 11%. With this amount of land in the US involved in agriculture, farmers and ranchers become the primary stewards of this land along with public and private support.
Agriculture and producers have made great strides in environmental and conservation efforts since 1970. Science, research, and on-farm practices have brought a myriad of new and improved ways to produce crops and livestock with less impact on the environment. High yielding agriculture is producing more from every acre while using less inputs through better soil testing, prescription applications of fertilizers and pesticides, conservation tillage methods, and new technologies. Total output from agriculture has nearly doubled since 1970 while inputs have stayed the same. Farmers and ranchers have also been heavy adopters of conservation improvements like terracing, erosion control systems, conservation tillage, no-till farming, cover crops, buffer strips, and Conservation Reserve. Protecting the soil today means a better quality and more productive farm and ranch in the future.
In the US, we also have the resources to look at new and alternative crops and production methods to meet sustainability and consumer preferences. Some farmers and ranchers are adopting organic production practices to meet the growing consumer demand. Others continue to experiment and adopt new conservation cropping practices like cover crops. More ranchers than ever are concentrating on grassland management practices that preserve the soil and improve the grazing. An increasing number of farmers are pro-actively addressing runoff issues through production practices and systems. It is evident on Earth Day, 2019 that US agriculture is stepping up to feed the world while working to maintain and improve the environment we live in.
Senior Vice President - Real Estate Operations
|Category: Farm Management News|