(Posted Wed. Apr 22nd, 2015)
Today, the world commemorates Earth Day. Around the globe, communities will take part in activities, campaigns and events on this day to promote awareness of environmental issues. However, for farmers, promoting the health and stability of nature resources happens every day.
“Our farmers understand they have a great and enviable connection with the earth,” said NCGA Production and Stewardship Action Team Chairman Don Glenn, an Alabama corn grower. “Each day, farmers are busy implementing solutions that will allow us to produce food more sustainably, while protecting and preserving the environment. This job requires constant dedication to improving our operation and the land we work. Our livelihood depends on it.”
Since the first Earth Day in 1970, American corn farmers have made great strides. Based on the Field to Market Environmental Indicators report, since 1980, corn yields have increased by a remarkable 88 percent. Corn farmers have significantly reduced the environmental impact of producing corn, including using 30 percent less land, 44 percent less energy and 53 percent less water.
Guided by its farmer leaders, NCGA develops programs and initiatives to assist corn farmers in the never-ending need to operate more efficiently. These projects include developing educational sessions and materials in the areas of water quality, insect and weed resistance, crop protection management and seed traits and treatment. Checkoff funds are invested in biorenewable product research to help make biobased products economically viable. Awareness of best practices in sustainable corn production is expanded by highlighting an individual farmer each year in the Good Steward Recognition Program.
NCGA farmers also collaborate with other like-minded organizations. The Soil Health Partnership brings farmers, industry leaders, environmental advocates and academic personnel together to demonstrate the contributions improved soil health makes agricultural productivity, profitability and environmental sustainability. The Field Print Calculator analyzes the impact of management choices on natural resources and operational efficiency. These efforts have given the agricultural community tools and forums to measure performance and exchange ideas.