There is a lot of buzz these days about sustainability in agriculture, a term that means different things to different people. As author Rob Gray might say, sustainable agriculture is about “treating the world as if we intended to stay.”
As a Midwestern BioAg customer, you practice this concept on your farm year after year. With an eye on building future farm productivity, you manage your soils for long-term health by putting down the best fertilizer possible in the most efficient ways. The short-term benefits are obvious — increased yields and higher quality feeds. The long-term benefits are compelling — reduced environmental impacts and higher farm margins.
Sustainable agriculture is a hot-button issue in today’s media, and for good reason. Nutrient runoff is arguably one of the most-debated topics in ag today. As the costs of cleaning nitrate and phosphorus deposits from drinking water financially strain municipal budgets, governments look to point and non-point pollution sources like agriculture for solutions.
With an eye on building future farm productivity, you manage your soils for long-term health by putting down the best fertilizer possible in the most efficient ways. The short-term benefits are obvious — increased yields and higher quality feeds. The long-term benefits are compelling — reduced environmental impacts and higher farm margins
Often not included in the story are the methods farmers like you already implement to keep nutrients out of the waterways and in your fields. Your motivations are twofold: putting down quality nutrients efficiently is both financially smart and environmentally sound. As a Midwestern BioAg customer, you plant cover crops whenever possible and practice tillage only when necessary to reduce compaction and keep top-soil loss at a minimum. You understand that a good soil structure increases water-holding capacity and nutrient cycling — two benefits that improve profitability and reduce nutrient loss.
Midwestern BioAg customers farm for margins in ways that go beyond mere sustainability. Over the past 30 years, our industry has seen tremendous advancement. Yields are higher, efficiencies are stronger, and cattle are more robust. And today, as pressures increase to make these advancements sustainable, the industry has stepped up to the challenge. Every farm conference or industry publication is peppered with mentions of best farming practices that can make farming better without sacrificing profitability.
The environmental benefits of our products and recommended practices are a silent addition to the reasons why our approach to farming has value. These benefits also have real value to municipalities. It costs a city $25 to $100 to remove each pound of phosphate from wastewater. It costs millions of dollars to put in a nitrate removal technology for urban drinking water.
At BioAg, we are exploring ways to have local cities “trade” their cleanup requirements to the farmer and create an additional revenue source for the farm. Under this type of policy, growers like you could reduce water-quality problems for free — while making more money on crops themselves. This is the kind of win-win situation needed to support sustainable change in agriculture.
This is just one of the many benefits of our approach to farm management, benefits that arise from a practical system of farming that can focus on all the factors that contribute to soil health, plant nutrition, and farm profitability. By taking this economically savvy approach to farm management, together we can truly “treat the world as if we intended to stay.”