Kentucky farmers championing Earth Day year-roundPosted on Apr 14, 2014
“While it may come as a surprise to some, farmers do not ignore environmental challenges. Virtually every farm organization has implemented some type of program to encourage cooperative leadership on environmental issues, particularly in regard to water quality,” said Kentucky Farm Bureau president Mark Haney. “Kentucky farmers have embraced this crucial job of safeguarding our land and water. It’s a big job that requires close attention, but it’s something that farmers cannot, and will not, overlook.”
Kentucky’s farmers not only do a great deal to protect the land, but they also strive to make it better. Aside from planting trees and shrubs for windbreaks, preserving and restoring wetland areas, and providing a habitat for many forms of wildlife, many farmers also work diligently to improve the quality of the environment by installing conservation buffers on their farmland. Across the U.S., more than 500,000 farmers have voluntarily enrolled approximately 27 million acres into the nation’s Conservation Reserve Program to date, making it the largest public-private partnership for conservation and wildlife habitat in the country.
“Farmers are always on guard to protect the soil and water critical to their livelihood,” said Haney. “They understand the close relationship between farming practices and natural resources, recognizing that their productive land is neither limitless nor inexhaustible.”
Today’s farmers are also embracing advanced methods for managing their land and investing in business services that will help them excel in an environmentally sensitive world. From contour farming and the Kentucky-pioneered no-till farming practices to dead animal composting and complex manure management systems, sound environmental stewardship is a 24/7, year-round job for the Commonwealth’s agricultural producers.
Farmers additionally remain at the forefront of producing clean, renewable fuels that provide for a healthier environment and a wide array of “green” jobs around the world. Through agricultural efficiencies made possible by biotechnology, farmers are also shrinking their environmental footprint, reducing their use of pesticides and producing more food on less land with even fewer impacts on soil and water resources – all key elements to feeding a growing global population.
“If Americans really want our nation to ‘go green,’” concluded Haney, “we should support the first green industry: agriculture.”