While Sustainability Is A Hot Environmental Topic These Days, Most No-Tillers Have Been Doing It For Years

Sustainable agriculture has many meanings depending on your particular point of view.

To consumers, sustainability means eating affordable, healthy and quality-assured food. To no-tillers, sustainability means optimizing yields and utilizing cost-effective farming practices while protecting the environment.

During a recent media event, Peter Eckes defined sustainability as farming solutions that maintain the right balance between economic success, environmental protection and social responsibility. The president of BASF Plant Science says it’s also about farmers working in a responsible way, producing large quantities of food and generating sufficient income without damaging the environment.

But regardless of how you define sustainability, it’s something innovative no-tillers have practiced for the past 40 years. And they often get irritated when folks think today’s farmers aren’t totally committed to sustainability.

To name just a few benefits, no-till increases wildlife numbers, improves soil health, reduces erosion and stores carbon. And as former University of Illinois ag economist Bob Thompson points out, much of the problem is due to the fact consumers don’t recognize the tremendous sustainability and efficiencies available with no-till.

American consumers care about sustainability, but many are still confused by what it really means. While consumers look mainly at quality, value and price when it comes to food, they’re also concerned about the impact of agriculture on the environment.

The results from a recent study sponsored by BASF pointed out several differences between growers and consumers in regard to sustainability.

Consumers have more trust and optimism for growers than is often suggested in the general…

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Frank Lessiter

Frank Lessiter has served as editor of No-Till Farmer since the publication was launched in November of 1972. Raised on a six-generation Michigan Centennial Farm, he has spent his entire career in agricultural journalism. Lessiter is a dairy science graduate from Michigan State University.

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