Land and water conservation a priority for Kentucky farmers on Earth Day and year-round

Posted on Apr 13, 2015
Louisville, KY (April 13, 2015) – As the annual Earth Day celebration returns and encourages communities across the country to applaud their local environmental champions, perhaps the search needs not extend further than the nearest family farm. The men and women tending to Kentucky’s 77,000 farms are committed to preserving the state’s land and water for a healthy return on the seeds they sow and the livestock they raise – for today and generations yet to come.

“Farmers are always on guard to protect the soil and water that is so critical to their livelihood,” said Kentucky Farm Bureau (KFB) president Mark Haney. “They very clearly understand that those resources are neither limitless nor inexhaustible.”

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 24 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.

“Kentucky farmers have embraced this crucial job of safeguarding our land and water,” said Haney. “It’s a big job that requires close attention, but it’s also something that farmers cannot, and will not, overlook.”

Today’s farmers also embrace 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 Kentucky’s agricultural producers.

“Nearly every farm organization has also implemented some type of program to encourage cooperative leadership on environmental issues, particularly in regard to water quality,” said Haney. “Kentucky Farm Bureau’s recently launched Water Management Working Group is one such program that we created to expand the availability of water resources to the state’s farmers and our rural and urban communities.”

Kentucky has been hit hard by drought in six of the past 15 years, three of which were widespread producers of significant crop and farmland damage. As a very small percentage of Kentucky’s cropland is irrigated, water remains a looming critical issue for Kentucky farmers as they seek to feed a growing world population.

To address those conditions, KFB’s 20-member Water Management Working Group is currently focused on three main objectives: (1) research the status of water supplies in the state; (2) examine potential action to raise the availability of water to farms; and (3) make recommendations to the appropriate federal, state and private entities. More information about KFB’s Water Management Working Group is available at: kyfb.com/water.

“If Americans really want our nation to ‘go green’ on Earth Day,” concluded Haney, “then we should all support the world’s original green industry: agriculture.”

Tagged Post Topics Include: Composting, Conservation, Contour farming, Earth Day, Environment, Mark Haney, No till, Water, Water Management Working Group