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.
GM, otherwise known as “Genetically Modified,” is a term consumers fear. Mark Lynas a spokesperson for the Environment bashed GM for years and created many movements on this topic. One day, he took it upon himself to research climate change and later GM. Later realizing the numerous benefits GM had to offer our growing population. In a video “Mark Lynas 2013 Oxford Farming Conference” (https://vimeo.com/56745320) he touches on this very topic.
GM crops not only allow our generation to be sustainable while feeding the hungry and poor, it also benefits our environment. GM’s allows for less pesticide use, while saving producers seeds because of they hybrid use, they are safer than conventional breeding and are roundup ready which means that less chemicals are being spread, just to name a few benefits.
Environmentally we are producing more with less. This means a smaller need for greenhouses and their emissions. Therefore, rainforest’s and other natural areas will not be destroyed and used for agriculture. GM offers a better way to manage nitrogen, furthermore keeping pollution to a minimum. Another benefit to the environment is the ability to make drought-resistant seed, as a result we can use less available water.
We as consumers need to be proactive and interested. GM is how we will feed our growing population; do you want people to starve? Research has proven no harm, sickness or diseases to animals or humans who have consumed GM food. Now you must do your part to educate yourself with scientific research to stay sustainable and save the environment.