By Sarah Ransom
Johnson County is known to be a rural, agricultural county. Throughout the years, we have produced many large quantities of beans, tobacco, and beef. Agricultural farming often impacts our natural resources and the environment. So, using sustainable practices helps farmers and producers to protect the environment, expand natural resources, and maintain and improve soil fertility.
When using these practices, farmers can increase farm income, enhance the quality of life for farm families and community, and increase production for human food needs.
According to NIFA, 90 percent of our farms in the United States are classified as small farms; these are family-owned and operated.
The National Institute of Food and Agriculture seeks to stimulate innovation with sustainable farming by engaging farmers and producers in development and adoption of practices that are profitable and environmentally sound, support ongoing research and education to adapt to various changing climates. The institute also seeks to improve production efficiency, productivity, and profitability, address threats from pests and diseases and improve the quality of surface water and other natural resources (USDA & NIFA).
The main goal of sustainable agriculture is to meet societal needs without compromising the ability of future generations to continue to meet their needs.
There are many various practices, both conventional and organic options. Some of these include rotational grazing, rotating crops, planting proper cover crops, reducing tillage, adopting agroforestry practices, and more. From the growers, food processors, distributors, retailers, consumers, and waste managers –all play a role in ensuring the sustainability of farms. It starts with using state-of-the-art, science-based practices that help maximize productivity and profit while minimizing environmental damages.
Sources – Sustainable Agriculture – https://nifa.usda.gov/topic/sustainable-agriculture and What is Sustainable Agriculture at https://www.ucsusa.org/food-agriculture/advance-sustainable-agriculture/what-is-sustainable-agriculture