Consider this: agriculture provides almost everything we eat, use and wear on a daily basis. While we know that food doesn’t just magically appear on our dinner table and clothes in our closet, too few people truly understand the contribution agriculture plays in their everyday lives.
From beef and pork to cotton and corn, agriculture is working harder than ever to meet the needs of our developing population. It’s estimated that each American farmer feeds more than 144 people, almost six times higher than what was being produced in the 1960s. As the world population continues to rise, the demand for the food and fiber produced in the United States continues to grow.
Indiana farmers are dedicated to feeding this growing world population. This dedication is equaled only by their commitment to protecting the land that makes it possible. As stewards of a healthy planet, they care for the soil that provides us food, fuel and clothes.
NRCS believes that keeping our soil healthy and productive is of utmost importance to addressing the rise in production demands. So much so that we believe improving the health of our Nation’s soil is one of the most important endeavors of our time.
Though each farmer’s conservation plan is unique, managing for soil health is one of the most effective ways to improve the environment while increasing crop productivity and profitability. Implementing this approach not only results in healthy soil that reduces erosion, requires less nutrient inputs, manages the effects of extreme weather, and reduces nutrient and sediment loading to streams and rivers but it also optimizes the farmer’s inputs, sustains outputs and increases resiliency. Likewise, farmers who work towards healthy soil on their farm will ultimately have a positive impact on climate change when incorporating cover crops and no-till into their conservation plan.
March 15th is National Ag Day, a time when countless individuals across America gather to recognize and celebrate the abundance provided by American agriculture. This year’s theme, Agriculture – Stewards of a Healthy Planet, is a great way to recognize our farmers in Indiana who live by the commitment to protect our soil and support the world’s growing needs.
As we celebrate agriculture throughout this week, I want to thank Indiana’s farm families for all you do to care for the land, improve the environment, and provide us safe and affordable food and fiber. I look forward to continuing to work together to become stewards of a healthy planet!
By Jane Hardisty, Indiana NRCS State Conservationist