AgWatch


Toot The Horn










 Lori Duncan, University of Tennessee row crop sustainability specialist 
 recently discussed cotton sustainability and that farmers are doing a
 really good job of producing while also curbing nutrient loss and preserving the 
 environment. 

 Photo by John LaRose







Specialist: Farmers Are Being Good Environmental Stewards

BETTY VALLE GEGG-NAEGER
MidAmerica Farmer Grower

JACKSON, TENN.
   Cotton sustainability in the state of Tennessee was addressed recently by Lori Duncan, University of Tennessee row crop sustainability specialist.
   “We talked about some environmental issues, nitrogen and phosphorus issues going into the Mississippi River and ways that we can manage those while still being productive, so it makes sense for our producers economically,” she said. “The University of Tennessee is a member of an organization called Field to Market, and this organization has highlighted a few indicators of our sustainable growth over the last 20 years such as reducing soil erosion per pound of lint produced by 68 percent while increasing our yields by 43 percent. They offer a tool called the Fieldprint Calculator to measure our sustainability on a field scale. I’ve been working with some producers to use this tool to look at practices like tillage, variable rate application of nutrients and cover crops to show and quantify environmental savings. In conjunction with some simple economic analyses, this method shows producers they can implement conservation practices and still make money.”
   Duncan recommends that these efforts need to be documented to show that farmers are doing a really good job of producing while also curbing nutrient loss and preserving the environment.
   “Obviously we need to continue adopting management practices like no till and cover crops, and commit to continuous improvement; but we also need to share with the public and the media that we are doing a good job and we need to keep our productivity up so we can feed and clothe the world,” Duncan said. ∆
   BETTY VALLE GEGG-NAEGER: Senior Staff Writer, MidAmerica Farmer Grower
MidAmerica Farm Publications, Inc
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