The Importance of Sustainability

As a farmer, I earn my living through my own land. It is in my best interest to take good care of this land and the water that I use for the crops I grow on this land. Growing food to feed your neighbors and the rest of the population is an incredibly noble job and I am honored to do it.

The foremost concern of sustainable farm practices is protecting the water supply. By using irrigation systems with low volume, I am able to conserve water. And using the water from the pond on my property—specifically designed for this purpose—helps me to provide my own source of water and not rely on the local water supply. In this way, I can also ensure that harmful chemicals are not leaching into my soil or water supply. If I am not using them, they aren’t in the run off into the pond. I am lucky that I have had an adequate supply of water for all of the years I have been farming. Some years have not been so great, but I have managed through the systems we have in place here.

Another problem with farming is that most of the equipment we use is gas powered. I have yet to meet an effective solar powered tractor. Maybe one day. Or perhaps I will be able to use an alternative fuel. But in the meantime, other than doing everything by hand, the only thing I can do is use the most fuel-efficient machinery I can and keep it all in good condition. Both of those things are in my own interest anyway. We do use solar panels to generate some of our power and I hope to continue to add more as we go.

We have to take very good care of the soil if we want it to continue being used for growth. Plants can rob soil of every nutrient it has and make the ground barren. That is a real concern for farmers because then that land cannot be used to plant anymore. Rotating the type of crops planted and proper tillage can help. ‘Listening’ to the ground is probably the best advice I can offer, though. You need to grow crops that are suited to your land and the conditions of your environment, not the crop that is going to make you the most money. Honestly, when you try to force crops to grow where they don’t belong will cost you more in the long run as you struggle to take care of them. Crop rotation and planting cover cropswill keep the weeds and bugs out when done properly, and has the added benefit of keeping the soil from eroding. And farms that have livestock have a pretty natural form of fertilizer available to them for free.

By taking care of my land and water supply, I can continue to farmhere as long as I can afford to keep my doors open and seeds in the ground. When I use smart practices to grow crops now, I know that I am ensuring that my children can run the farm long after I am gone.