Building Sustainable Agriculture – Bill Couser and Bill Northey

I was able to go see Bill Couser and Bill Northey speak about creating sustainable agriculture. Although I had to leave early due to an evening class, I gained a lot of knowledge about production agriculture in Iowa from Bill Couser.

One of the big points that stuck out to me from Couser was the fact that he said he tries to farm in a renewable, sustainable, environmentally friendly, but yet profitable way. Although this is pretty much commonsense, his reasoning for doing so is what stuck out to me. He wants to not only promote sustainable farming in general, but most importantly he wants to give the generations to follow nutrient rich, well managed, profitable land. Throughout his presentation you could tell that all the different management methods he has put into place since the 1930’s has been made to do just this. Putting in place different systems to control runoff and nutrient leeching from his feedlot, implementing more cover crop coverage on his land, practicing more no till methods, and also producing more commodities from one crop are all practices he has incorporated to better off his operation which ultimately will better off the upcoming generations. It interesting to see how leaving a productive farm goes hand in hand with environmental stewardship/sustainable agriculture. This is something I see in my operation at home, as I am getting older I see these little management decisions my dad makes to continue to create a sustainable and profitable farming operation. I also really enjoyed his comments on trying to control, or lack there of, the weather as a farmer. Weather is a continuous battle that farmers face.

Overall it was great listening to Couser speak about sustainable agriculture and see how even in Iowa, the concepts still hold true for farming in Pennsylvania. I always enjoy seeing how different operations run and the different systems they have in place.

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