The fifth annual Sustainable Ag Summit was in Indianapolis last week shining a light on conservation efforts happening across the country and right here in Indiana.
Indiana State Department of Agriculture Deputy Director Jordan Seger says the event brought together farmers, ag retailers, food businesses, and others from across the country to plot out a roadmap for sustainability and create more public/private partnerships to reach sustainability goals.
In Indiana, Seger says sustainability is soil health, and soil health dominated much of the conservation conversation last week.
“Thankfully, the soil health movement has really gone national, and I like to say, ‘conservation is cool now.’ It’s cool not just to the ag community or us as government, but conservation is cool to these food buyers. Like it or not, they’re asking more about how/where those raw materials they’re buying are being grown.”
Seger says they are very proud of the progress made by Indiana farmers over the past couple of years with soil health.
“Whether that’s implementing more conservation tillage, or no-till, or cover crops, or good nutrient management, we have come leaps and bounds over the last couple of years but realize that we’ve still got more to go.”
You can ask just about anyone and they’ll tell you that Indiana is a leader in this space. Seger added that Indiana is also way ahead of the game in terms of the ability to track conservation efforts. That was the topic of a breakout session led by Seger and other Indiana conservation leaders at the summit.
“We can tally all that up in a big collective report to say, ‘Okay, statewide this year, this is what farmers have done when it comes to conservation and soil health.’ Oh, and by the way, this is all being done voluntarily. There’s no red tape or regulation that’s mandating or forcing this down. Farmers are doing this because it makes sense to.”
Seger told Hoosier Ag Today that the organizers of the Sustainable Ag Summit were very pleased with Indianapolis as the host site this year, achieving their highest attended summit yet.