View from the Cab: Marking Earth Day

April 20, 2020

 

We officially mark 50 years of Earth Day this week and no one takes better care of the land than America’s farmers.

 

Earth Day resulted years ago from a unified response to polluted rivers, smog and oil spills. Around 20 million Americans protested these issues on April 22, 1970 and demanded a new way forward, according to information posted on www.earthday.org. Several digital events have been planned in honor of the day, just go to the website for more information.

 

This day marks a time when people plant trees, recycle or attempt to reduce the carbon footprint all to help out nature. For continued success on farms and ranches around the world, our farmers continue to be good stewards of the land and environment.

 

Information from the National Farmers Union notes many growers have implemented various conservation practices on their operations which improve soil health and offset greenhouse gas emissions through improved soil carbon sequestration. There is proof the ag industry realizes the importance of conservation as cover crops were planted on 50 percent more acres in 2017 than 2012.

 

U.C. Berkeley researchers report soils in our country can sequester almost 300 million metric tons of carbon each year which can offset over four percent of the total national emissions. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service offers various programs with financial assistance for farmers.

 

Farmers are disturbing the soil less and building up that soil structure by no-tilling crops into the ground and utilizing strip till practices for minimum tillage on a field. This means all of the seed and fertilizer goes into one strip as a way to prevent unnecessary nutrient loss. Plus, today’s precision agriculture technology allows us to use less fuel and increase efficiency. That’s good for everyone.

 

How about that snow last week? While working outside, it felt more like the middle of winter rather than late April. I guess snow isn’t out of the question for April as we have experienced this during the past few years. Hopefully the weather starts to turn around so we can get the rest of those beans in the ground and start planting corn soon.

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