April 21, 2020
Earth Day: What It Means to Farmers
Earth Day is celebrated around the world each year on April 22, but for farmers, Earth Day is every day.
Farmers have a special connection with the Earth. As the farmer tends to the soil, the Earth in return provides them with a profession and the resources they need to help feed the world and put clothes on our backs.
How Farmers Are Helping the Environment
Families have most likely been farming the same land for generations, so they feel an even larger responsibility to conserve, protect, care and improve all of its resources. Many farmers are now turning to sustainable agriculture to conserve resources and are partaking in new practices.
- No-till (zero tillage) - A practice where old crops are left on the soil surface and the soil is not disturbed until the seed is planted. It helps farmers conserve and leave the soil intact so it won’t be washed away by water or blown away by wind.
- Planting cover crops - Cover crops are usually planted in seasons when most crops cannot grow, like winter. The crop’s roots hold the soil in place, hindering wind or water from washing the soil away, preventing soil erosion. This then increases organic matter in the soil, improving its health.
Crop rotation - Growing different types of crops in the same area in sequential seasons is one of the most effective agricultural control strategies that is used in preventing the loss of soil fertility. It can greatly reduce the opportunity for disease and pests to take hold and can also lead to reductions in the need to apply fertilizers and pesticides.
- Collecting water runoff - This practice helps stop pollutants from reaching water sources.
You can learn more sustainable practices and how you can help by visiting https://www.epa.gov/sustainability.