- Conservation programs in farm bill can help farmers protect environment, wallet
A fraction of money in the farm bill is aimed at protecting natural resources like soil and water. Changes to those farm conservation programs would not only impact the environment, they would also impact farmers' bottom lines.
- Cover crops in nitrogen's circle of life
A circle of life-and nitrogen-is playing out in farms across the United States. And researchers are trying to get the timing right. Some cover crops, such as hairy vetch or cereal rye, are not grown to be eaten. Instead, they capture nutrients, including nitrogen, from previous crops, the air, and the soil. When cover crops decompose, these nutrients are released. Cash crops, such as corn or soybean, planted afterward can use these nutrients to grow and thrive.
- Cost of soil erosion? $3 billion annually in Canada
Soil erosion is now costing Canadian farmers more than $3 billion each year, about three times the rate from 40 years ago, a University of Manitoba professor said at a soil health conference held in Chatham. David Lobb from the school's department of soil science said this finding came as a surprise to him because much has been accomplished in soil conservation since the 1970s.
- Farming crops with rocks to reduce CO2 and improve global food security
Farming crops with crushed rocks could help to improve global food security and reduce the amount of CO2 entering the atmosphere, a new study has found. The pioneering research by scientists at the University of Sheffield together with international colleagues suggests that adding fast-reacting silicate rocks to croplands could capture CO2 and give increased protection from pests and diseases while restoring soil structure and fertility.
- Nearly 70 percent of no-till farmers were profitable in 2017
No-till farmers report that despite rising expenses last year they were able to make some money. Of the 497 no-tillers from 26 states who responded to the January survey of No-Till Farmer, sister publication of Ag Equipment Intelligence, 68 percent say they were profitable. This was down by about 2 percent compared to a year earlier when 69.8 percent reported being in the black in 2016. Compared to 2014, though, it was down by 13 percent, when 81 percent of no-tillers said they made a profit.
- The next step in sustainable agriculture
Where some see an opportunity, others see only difficulties. Where some accept change and inevitability, others reject emerging trends and try to hold out against the onrushing wave. Such is the reality of modern farming, where some embrace change, sometimes reluctantly, while others fight paradigm shifts with all their might.
- Sustainable soil initiatives making an impact
The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization asserts that "land and soils constitute the foundation for sustainable agricultural development, essential ecosystem functions, and food security. They are key to sustaining life on Earth." Many of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals are closely related to land and soils. Recent research and initiatives undertaken by governments, scientific institutes and nonprofit organizations are working towards these SDGs through sustainable land management and soil conservation.
- Opinion: Deny, deflect, defend: Agriculture's impact on the environment
Farmers need to do a better job of soil and water conservation. The nitrogen and phosphorus levels reaching our water bodies are absolutely too high. And there is no doubt agriculture land is a primary source of this nutrient loading. But farmers are not solely responsible for the nutrient loading from agricultural land.
- Noble Research Institute creates soil health marketplace
Noble Research Institute intends to create a new voluntary environmental services market that aims to incentivize farmers and ranchers to improve soil health on working agriculture lands. Healthy soils can sequester carbon, improve water quality, control run-off and reduce water demand, all of which create a cleaner environment. Healthy soils also improve crop yield and resilience while decreasing farmers' and ranchers' need for agricultural inputs.
- Fewer acres are being farmed
Every five years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture conducts the National Agricultural Statistics Service, a survey of farming across the county. The study includes information ranging from the number of farms in each county and state to the number of acres in production and the market values of those farms and their crops. The 2012 is the most recent study where we can see the results, but the USDA recently completed the survey of the country's farmers for the 2017 version. Once all that data is sorted, the new report likely won't come out until spring of 2019.