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Celebrating Earth Day Today and Every Day

Apr 22, 2020

On this day 50 years ago Gaylord Nelson's idea for the United States to declare a national day for everyone to focus on the environment came to fruition: Earth Day. The vision was to create public consciousness around preserving natural resources and lowering air and water pollution.  Since that time, Earth Day has grown exponentially and has become a day of celebrating the earth and educational opportunities on conserving our natural resources in more than 192 countries. It is exciting to see the world come together on Earth Day and celebrate the things farmers appreciate and think about every day.

It has often been said that farmers are the original environmentalists and conservationists. Farmers have been taking care of their land and the environment long before anyone told them to do so, because they depend on them for their livelihood. Additionally, most of them have the desire to pass down their farming operations to the next generation in better conditions than they found it, while also being called on to feed an ever-increasing population. In order to pass down the farming operation to the next generation, it must remain profitable. While the operation’s bottom line is always top of mind for farmers, more than ever, external forces like weather and trade mean that every cent counts. And, as the conversation around agriculture’s important role in mitigating climate change continues to grow, new technologies can help farmers quantify and tell the story of their positive impact.

In an effort to help growers navigate these important issues, GreenPoint Ag and Truterra, the sustainability solutions business of Land O’Lakes Inc., have joined forces to support farmer-led stewardship for the GreenPoint Ag business base called GreenPoint Ag Sustain.

While the definition of sustainability differs greatly across the board, it is defined simply at GreenPoint Ag Sustain as
         1.  Protecting the profitability of the United States farmer
         2.  Protecting our natural resources
Without either of these, the United States farmer cannot be sustainable.  Sustainability is a business decision, and growers must be supported in the freedom and flexibility to make the right decisions for their farms and families. Often, more environmentally conscious means more economically viable long term. 

Working together we have deployed the Truterra Insights Engine, an on-farm digital platform developed by Land O’Lakes, in a pilot program in 2019 across more than 10,000 acres in the Mississippi Delta. Pulling from 30 years of weather, satellite and agronomic data, the platform analyzes how each part of a field is performing and recommends specific actions that a farmer could take to bolster stewardship and optimize their business. This tool allows us to benchmark what farmers are doing right now and reveals areas where they might be able to improve. With sub-field level insights, it offers farmers a deeper look at which areas of their operation are performing best, which areas could offer a source of additional revenue through enrolling in conservation programs, and which areas could benefit from management changes like less tilling, more cover crops, or adding buffer strips. This tool helps farmers to execute on their conservation priorities, including protecting and enhancing their soils, optimizing their fertilizer and crop-protection tools, and producing more food per acre most efficiently—all while improving the health of our air, soil and water, and saving them money.

GreenPoint Ag Sustain is proud to work with United States farmers on their sustainability goals. Keep up the good work, this Earth Day and every day.

This article was written by Jennifer Wells, PhD, Senior Account Manager, Sustainability with Truterra, LLC.

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