For people in agriculture, it won't come as a surprise that farmers are increasingly focused on environmental issues and in finding answers to reduce fertilizer use and embrace conservation techniques. After all, they are the ones living and working most directly with the land. Of course, the public has different impressions of farmers and perspectives on the topic.
But to further confirm farmers' commitment, a survey by the Conservation Technology Information Center and The Fertilizer Institute shows that farmers are adopting best management practices in record numbers,
Here's a snapshot of the results:
- More than three-quarters of survey respondents have conservation plans in place.
- Three out of five respondents have fully adopted nutrient-management plans.
- More than half of row crop producers who responded to the survey have fully adopted conservation tillage, nutrient management, grassed waterways and integrated pest, disease and weed management.
“This further confirms that we are seeing positive trends, and we continue to employ increased fertilizer efficiency and reduced use of pesticides and herbicides,” says David Ward, National Corn Growers Association Production and Stewardship Action Team.
Approximately 2,000 farmers nationwide responded to the survey in late 2007, representing 2.5 million acres of farmed cropland. Survey respondents had an average of 29 years of farming experience, and 75 percent of those answering the survey farm a corn/soybean rotation or a corn/soybean/wheat rotation. Seventy-nine percent had at least some college education.
Further illustrating farmers' long-term commitment in this area, NCGA has joined a new agricultural sustainability initiative managed by the Keystone Center. One of the goals of this effort is to increase productivity to meet future nutritional needs while decreasing impacts on the environment, including water, soil, habitat, air quality and climate emissions, and land use.
For more information on the CTIC/Fertilizer Institute survey, follow this link (PDF format).