NATIONAL AG WEEK: PLANTING KNOWLEDGE IN OTHERS

Last month I was asked the question how I can spread the word about agriculture to an audience that may not otherwise be concerned with what happens before their food arrives on the plate. I simply stated that I engage in conversations about agriculture with people I encounter on a daily basis. It a trickle effect and the knowledge you shared with maybe five people has reached hundreds.

During National Agriculture Week this year, which is March 18-22, there are numerous things to be excited about within the agriculture industry! America’s farmers are by far the most productive in the world, growing twenty percent more corn per acre than any other nation (USDA). But we haven’t become the most productive agriculture nation in the world without hard work, innovative technologies, and conservation practices that are paving the way upwards as we are reaching yield counts that were once unimaginable.

Farmers are ensuring that they are leaving their land in better shape for the future because more often than not farming is a multigenerational undertaking.

family farmer
Photo credit: Holly Spangler, Prairie Farmer

When talking about conservation America’s corn farmers have cut soil erosion forty-four percent by using innovative conservation methods and those same farmers are growing eighty-seven percent more corn per ounce of fertilizer according to the USDA. Today’s farmers fully understand the toll their constant cultivation of the soil takes on the environment and are adopting new practices for generations to come. Some of these methods include: biodiversity and no till. Biodiversity is another word for planting a number of diverse crops to promote a healthier ecosystem as a whole, and “no till” refers to the practice of growing crops from year to year with little soil disturbance.

no till farming

On another note, new technologies are constantly being released in the ag industry that improve efficiency because every minute of a farmers time is extremely valuable. New GPS (Global positioning system) technologies enable farmers to have their planters and harvesters steer and now turn themselves automatically without much human intervention. The farmer is in some ways just along for the ride these days when it comes to the technologies that are changing the ag industry.

american farmer

So during this National Ag Week I encourage you to not keep your passion and knowledge locked away, but spread the word! Plant the knowledge about agriculture in others that will fuel the future.

beisswengerSteven Beisswenger
Illinois State University Student

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