Consumer questions about environmentally friendly practices in agriculture have served as great conversation starters on the Facebook page and website of the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA), an organization that is a collaboration of nearly 80 farmer- and rancher-led organizations and agricultural partners.
Between fooddialogues.com and the USFRA Facebook page, consumers have been able to ask questions to farmers and ranchers about their “green” practices, allowing farmers and ranchers to respond with real life examples of what they are doing.
Some of the questions that are being posed to and answered by farmers on fooddialogues.com include:
- Are farmers and ranchers really focused on sustainability?
- What are the farmers / ranchers doing to reduce ag carbon footprint?
- How does the industry work to offset damages to the environment caused by commercial fertilizer runoff?
“Fooddialogues.com and USFRA’s Facebook page allow consumers to ask questions of farmers and ranchers about their efforts around being more environmentally friendly,” said Bob Stallman, chairman of USFRA and president of the American Farm Bureau Federation. “And many of the farmers and ranchers are thrilled to be sharing their stories about continuous improvement. Their reliance on the soil, water, air and animals makes being green an important focus not just around Earth Day, but year-round.”
For example, on USFRA’s Facebook page, there are many stories of farmer and rancher efforts to be more environmentally responsible through continuous improvement initiatives.
A California farmer who grows artichokes, cherries, dry beans, tomatoes and grapes, recently posted on the USFRA Facebook page about his efforts to be greener:
“We take great interest in our soil. This is our factory floor. It is limited and you cannot make more. We wait until the ground has dried in the spring to start working our fields. If you start too soon you will compact the soil making it ...hard for the roots of the crop to penetrate. We rotate crops to different fields every year. Crop residue is plowed under every year to help build up organic matter in the soil. Timely applications of water when required by the growing crop ensure a bountiful harvest.”
Other farmers and ranchers of various types and from different parts of the country are also sharing their stories. Some of those comments include:
- “We're always improving what and how we do things. Composting all manure, working on better water catchment systems…raised beds for better water use. “
- “Dairy producers are very conscientious about their carbon footprint. There are so fewer cows than ever and dairy producers are doing a better job of producing quality food for more Americans than ever. Dairy producers are finding new ways to convert manure into compost and using this product as a fertilizer on their own crops and sharing this product with their neighbors as well.”
- “Modern beef production has already lowered its "carbon footprint" through improved genetics and technologies. As compared to 1977 today's beef production uses 30% less land, 14% less water, 20% fewer feedstuffs and 9% less fossil fuel per pound of meat produced.”
- “Yes, we are focused on sustainability. Without it, our livelihood does not exist. We must sustain the land, water and air in order to provide a nutritional product for your family and ours to consume. If we do not do these things, we lose income and lose our farm or ranch. These farms and ranches are not just a way of life for us, but also a business that must be nurtured.”