The idea for Earth Day was created more than 50 years ago by a junior senator from Wisconsin to raise public awareness of the impact people have on the environment.
Today, Earth Day is an opportunity for the public to learn how we can treat our planet better so that we will have a safe and habitable home for generations to come. This year’s theme is “Invest in Our Planet.”
Thankfully, America’s farmers have already been investing in a healthy planet for generations. Because the health of their farms is intrinsically tied to the health of the soil, air, and water that feed their crops, they’re often referred to as the original conservationists.
Here are three ways American farmers and ranchers are investing in our planet and taking care of the Earth.
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Currently, agricultural emissions make up about only nine percent of overall emissions in the U.S. But farmers are continually working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions even further by employing climate-smart farm practices as well as effectively managing forests, grasslands, and wetlands, which absorb carbon from the environment. In fact, on a net basis, forestry and farming capture more carbon emissions than they produce!
Promoting soil health.
Farmers know how vital healthy soil is to a good crop. So, whether planting cover crops, managing nitrogen, or implementing no- or reduced-till practices, farmers are working to increase soil health. They’re also working to improve and advance innovative practices through research and collaboration with land-grant institutions.
West Texas farmer Mason Becker put it best, “Soil is the foundation to everything.”
Growing sustainable fuel sources and increasing the use of renewable energy in farming operations.
Farmers in the U.S. are also producing earth-friendly biofuels like ethanol to fuel our cars with cleaner energy. Research suggests that moving to a nationwide higher blend of ethanol would reduce carbon emissions by 17.62 tons, which is the equivalent of taking 3.85 million cars off the road each year.
Recently, President Biden announced that E15, which is traditional fuel blended with 15 percent ethanol, will be permitted to be sold year-round. In his announcement, President Biden said the nation “simply can’t get to net zero by 2050 without biofuels.”
Plus, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation, farmers and ranchers are making strides to use clean energy on their own farms. In the last five years, producers have increased the use of renewable energy sources by more than 130 percent.
American farmers are continuously working to protect and preserve the planet that we all call home. That’s why America’s farmers and ranchers have advocated for strong farm policies that allow them to invest in climate-smart farming practices.
American farmers Invest in Our Planet every day through these voluntary commitments that provide a healthier planet and grow our sustainable and abundant global food supply.