The 40th anniversary of Earth Day is this Thursday, April 22. It's a day that was started to inspire awareness and a better appreciation of the environment, and, according to the National Corn Growers Association, that should include the contributions made by farmers every year. It should also be a day to increase grower awareness of the sustainability of their own operations.
"It only makes sense that growers would work to preserve land, water and air," said NCGA President Darrin Ihnen, a family farmer in Hurley, S.D. "We need to conserve these resources for the survival of our farms, which most of us have passed from generation to generation."
Today's farmers produce 70% more corn per pound of nutrients than in the 1970s according to numbers compiled by the USDA. High-tech equipment and seed technologies have helped lead to this increase. Also according to the Keystone Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture's Field to Market study producing a bushel of corn has decreased soil loss by 69%, land and energy use by 37%, greenhouse gas emissions by 30%, and water application by 27% between 1987 and 2007.