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  • Writer's pictureHallie Shoffner

Sustainable farming practices: why big ag and activists like them

Updated: Feb 17, 2022

In early December last year, I spoke on a panel of big ag farmers about how extreme weather affects my farm financially. Recap:


Climate change costs big $$$.


Climate change causes extreme weather patterns. Extreme weather damages crops. Damaged crops hurt farmers financially.


To be exact, my farm has lost $133,000 due to the direct impacts of climate change in the last five years. Ouch.

Hallie Shoffner checking SFR Seed Soybeans
Big Farming is still a hands on job.

So, like all business people, we do what we can to remain profitable. On the panel, I and other farmers spoke about how "sustainable farming practices" will best help us face the changing climate.


What are sustainable (sometimes called conservation or regenerative) farming practices?


It's not super well-defined yet. It's generally thought of as any of the following:


  • Capturing carbon in the soil by increasing and maintaining organic matter

Why farmers like it:

Increases yield

Reduces the use of costly synthetic fertilizers

Reduces runoff and erosion of fertile topsoil

Saves $$


Why activists like it:

Reduces the use of synthetic fertilizers

Reduces runoff of chemicals and silt that leads to algae blooms (kills water life)

Saves the planet


  • Using more environmentally friendly weed and pest control practices

Why farmers like it:

Reduces the use of costly herbicides and pesticides

Reduces the use of costly fuel and field equipment for tillage

Saves $$


Why activists like it:

Reduces the use of herbicides and pesticides

Reduces the use of fossil fuels

Saves the planet

  • Improve drainage and improve irrigation

Why farmers like it:

Reduces the use of fuel for irrigation wells

Reduces the use of electricity for electric wells

Conserves our water tables for sustained use

Saves $$


Why activists like it:

Reduces the use of fossil fuels

Saves energy

Reduces the use of water

Saves the planet


Sustainable farming practices save big $$$ and the planet!


Farmers also want to save the planet!


On my farm we are working on the following projects:

  1. Reduce overall farm tillage (soil carbon release)

  2. Use of alternative fertilizers (chicken litter)

  3. Improve drainage

  4. Convert diesel wells to electric

  5. Soil sampling and analysis (to reduce fertilizer use)

  6. Cover crops

  7. Initial discussions of solar energy


We have a four-year plan for implementation for an initial investment of $78,000. The savings will total $197,200. Or a 2.5x return!


Here's my talk during the panel. Just click and it will automatically play my section. It's about 12 minutes.




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