(Posted Wed. Jun 15th, 2016)
By NCGA Director of Soil Health and Sustainability Nick Goeser, Ph.D.
We just celebrated World Oceans Day which carries the two-year theme of “Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet.” This is a reminder that we live together on one planet, with one global system that interacts across our society: Water, soil, air, plants and animals.
Farmers have a keen interest in understanding the diverse roles our oceans play and the links across this global system. In agriculture, the links between society, water soil, air, plants and animals are paramount and something that deserves to be top-of-mind every day.
Farmers wear many hats. They act as biologists, ecologists, soil scientists, agronomists, accountants, market analysts and more. As a result, farmers understand complex interactions across diverse systems - including the terrestrial effects on marine environments. Farmers also recognize that oceans serve as an important resource for international trade and business. Oceans afford farmers the ability to market their crops across the globe, utilizing international trade routes to link countries together across wide geographic expanses.
Farmers engage in many efforts to personally and collectively act in conserving our oceans through improving sustainable agricultural production practices across terrestrial environments. One example of active farmer discovery, research and innovation in implementing the best soil management to protect our water is through the Soil Health Partnership. Farmers across the Partnership are innovating, testing and measuring new conservation technologies to continually improve sustainable agricultural production and enhance water quality.
An initiative of the National Corn Growers Association, the Soil Health Partnership works closely with diverse organizations including commodity groups, federal agencies and well-known environmental groups toward common goals. The Partnership is in its third year with 65 partner farms across eight Midwestern states.
Farmers recognize nutrient management, soil erosion mitigation, and responsible application of all agricultural inputs helps to maintain high-quality water and conserve our oceans. We have just one planet, and our farmers continually rise to the challenge of stewardship – of both land and sea.