Sustainability is one of those elusive words that means a million different things to a million different people. What it means to Illinois corn farmers is growing the most food with the least impact on the Earth in a way that allows them to continue to growing food next year.
Sustainability is important to corn farmers because being sustainable is the right thing to do. Sustainable agriculture provides food for the hungry, nurtures the environment, and invests in the future. How are Illinois corn farmers being more sustainable? Read on.
Corn farmers are providing food for their own families, your family, and others all over the world. In order to do that, they have to keep growing more and more food. Luckily, yields are not only increasing at a steady rate, they are increasing at an exponential rate. Because seed genetics and technology are allowing corn farmers to plant corn that makes the best use of the inputs available (water, soil, fertilizer, etc) farmers are growing more corn per acre. This is good, because in the next forty years, farmers will have to grow as much food in one year as was grown in the cumulative history of the world.
Corn farmers are nurturing the environment. This isn’t only the right thing to do, but being good stewards of the land and water means that corn farmers can keep producing food and fuel for our world. As proof, consider that corn farmers have reduced land and energy use needed to produce a bushel of corn by 37% in the last twenty years, reducing soil erosion by 69% in the same time. This means we’re using fewer acres, less petroleum and minimizing top soil runoff to produce the same bushel of corn we used to produce. This is an excellent story of environmental stewardship.
Corn farmers are investing in the future. Just like a million other small businessmen in this country, corn farmers are interested in leaving their farms to their sons and daughters. Preserving the land they farm is an investment in the future that both allows them to continue growing food and to create a legacy handed down through the generations. A corn farmer believes in investing in the environment because it makes his farm profitable, it provides him the opportunity to continue living the lifestyle he loves to live, it offers a promise to his children and it makes him a part of a bigger goal – feeding the world.
Sustainability is a word Illinois corn farmers don’t just believe in, they live it and breathe it every day. On this Earth Day, celebrate the environment and celebrate sustainability with Illinois corn farmers by joining us on FACEBOOK to tell us what you are doing to be more sustainable.