Farming Teaches Us How to Operate in a Living Ecosystem

Soil, air and water quality should be considered business imperatives like any other input

When a farm business maintains productive and healthy soil to grow high-performing crops, our communities, and the land and water supplying them, all thrive. 

To make these kinds of strides toward continuous agronomic improvement, the on-farm and downstream environmental benefits must exist alongside the farm operation’s profit potential. Only then will it be possible to engage all farmers of all crops in making the necessary agronomic changes to improve the sustainability of their operations.

Farmers, and the agronomists working with them, need data they can act on. If we hope to standardize sustainable practices, we have to ensure we can measure this progress on every acre based on proven, scientific indicators for sustainability, soil health and water quality.

Listen to episode five of the Groundswell podcast.

  


Interview Highlights:

Mitchell Hora, owner and agronomist at Continuum Ag LLC, strives to provide national and international growers and companies with unmatched consulting services focusing on soil heath and data management for their operations. Hora believes in order to improve water quality, growers must evaluate existing management practices and nutrient usage for areas of improvement. Hora was born and raised on a farm in Iowa where his love of agriculture first began. In his spare time, Hora enjoys giving back to community by sharing his expertise of soil biology in local FFA classes.

Allison Thompson comes to Field to Market from a research institute at the University of Maryland where she conducted research and managed science programs for federal government clients. Thompson has 15 years of experience in research on agricultural systems and their interactions with energy systems and the environment. Thompson has written or contributed to more than 50 peer-reviewed publications and held leadership positions with several national and international scientific programs.

Jeffrey Kleypas serves as TORO Micro-Irrigation’s District Sales Manager in Texas and the Plains. He uses his accreditation as a Certified Crop Consultant to oversee business development and education of micro-irrigation systems in 12 states. Kleypas’s main goal is to share his technical expertise with those more interested in learning about water efficiency.

Karen Chapman is a manager on the Environmental Defense Fund’s agricultural sustainability team and based in the Midwest, where she works to expand the Environmental Defense Fund’s nutrient use efficiency programs, such as NutrientStar. In her position, Thompson helps assess nutrient optimization tools and technologies, coordinate farmer networks geared toward better fertilizer management, and link supply chain companies’ sustainable sourcing goals to on-the-ground projects. One Verdesian technology, NutriSphere-N, has been reviewed by the NutrientStar program.