Farmer’s Thumbs Grow Greener Due To Environment

Farmer’s Thumbs Grow Greener Due To Environment

February 6th, 2020

Although it may often seem that our daily lives exist separated from an ‘environment’ that appears to be distant or far off, we are inextricably linked to the environment that surrounds us. A snowy winter may cause particularly treacherous commutes to and from work, and Ragweed bloom may drive many to increase their consumption of tissues.

Because the environment affects our day-to-day lives, changes to the environment impact us as well. According to University of Minnesota researcher Dr. Kate Brauman in a speech given at the Minnesota Environmental Congress, Minnesota’s cold season has become shorter and milder, and we can expect to see the cold season continue to become even shorter and milder. This means that we will have shorter ice seasons, so we will not be able to be out on the ice as much as we may want. We will also likely have to deal with invasive species that would have been controlled by the cold of past winters.

Not only will the changing environment impact our daily lives, it will continue to impact an important part of our society and economy that explicitly relies on the environment – farming. Minnesota farmers have been noticing changing weather patterns over recent years that have affected their farms. Major weather events, flash droughts, as well as spells of heavy rainfall harm crops and demand that farmers adapt to a changing climate.

One Minnesota farmer who has taken note of the changing climate and the need to adapt is Sam Peterson. His crops have been damaged by weather events, such as hail and wind, more in recent years than in the more distant past. Changing rainfall patterns have also hurt crop yield.

In an effort to both adapt to the challenges posed by a changing climate and mitigate his own impact on the environment, Sam has been a leader in adopting new farming practices and technologies. His use of drain tiles and cover crops help him preserve soil health and prepare for periods of heavy rainfall, and his use of variable rate fertilizer, low till practices, and biofuels in his farm equipment help him produce less emissions.

Every person who eats food or drives a vehicle can help the agriculture industry become greener. We can choose to eat foods that were produced using low emissions practices and technologies. We can also use biofuels in our vehicles, such as E15 or E85. Adopting these practices will help increase demand for agricultural production that will have a lower environmental impact and will reduce our consumption of petroleum.