Farmers have always had a great reputation for protecting their land. After all, protecting their land is essential to making a living for their families. In fact, farming is one of the most eco-friendly industries in the world. Here are some ways that farmers are making their properties even more eco-friendly.
Maintaining Arable Land
Farmers are making their land grow more crops than ever before. In turn, as the earth’s population grows, the number of acres needed to grow crops does not negatively increase. One way that farmers are doing this is to use scientific data to determine crop rotation. Then, they do not need to add as many fertilizers to build up the soil. The result is that harvested crops are bigger with fewer trips across the field. Bonnie Plants explains, “often crop rotation lowers the number of pests that farmers have to treat against. Rotating plant families also helps manage soil-borne diseases like verticillium wilt, and soil-dwelling insects like corn rootworms. These types of diseases and pests prefer certain kinds of plants, and the longer the plants stay in the same soil, the better the chance that these enemies will show up and cause trouble.” Less nitrogen has to be incorporated into the soil. Crop rotation can also help stop soil erosion by creating healthier microbial communities. Research also shows that less soil erodes when a crop with deep roots is rotated with a shallow-root crop.
Using Durable Materials
Farms must have a number of different buildings. In many cases, these buildings must be repaired frequently, but farmers are discovering new building techniques that require less maintenance. Many farmers are now turning to plastic lumber when building new buildings or repairing old ones. Bedford Technology explains, “plastic lumber is a valuable alternative to wood for agricultural industry applications. The value comes from the low-maintenance requirements, durability, long life cycle and ease of installation. It requires no painting or staining, and the color is manufactured throughout the entire profile with UV inhibitors, so it lasts over time.” Additionally, farmers are using more recycled products than in the past. In many different places, agriculture waste is collected, pelletized and turn into new products like drainage tiles, horticultural trays and garbage bags.
Use Biotech Plants
Many farmers are discovering that they can plant the same amount of acres while producing more food when they plant biotech plants. Through the use of biotechnology, farmers are able to breed for specific characteristics making their current crops yield more. Most of these plants require less maintenance lowering the carbon footprint of farms. Green Tumble explains, “many times biotech helps activate the latent abilities and nutrients already found within the plant. Rice for example, is one of the world’s most eaten food. Scientists used genetic engineering to produce rice rich in vitamin A. What scientists noticed is that while rice already contains the genes that produce vitamin A, these get turned off as the rice grow; so what the scientists did was to reverse that process so that the vitamin A genes get turned on.” These plants are often grown successfully without needing as many pesticides. They are often more resistant to weather challenges like droughts. As farmers adopt these practices, then the world becomes even healthier.
Some of the greatest conservationists are farmers because they understand that their livelihood depends on having a healthy environment to raise their crops and livestock. If you are a farmer, you can use these ideas and your own ingenuity to keep your farm eco-friendly. Check to see the energy conservation and eco-friendly attitudes of neighboring states, and how you and your area can improve!