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Farming is an Environmental Triangle

Farming is an Environmental Triangle
Oct 20, 2022
By Denise Faguy
Assistant Editor, North American Content, Farms.com

Natural, physical, and human elements make up the key elements

At the recent Farms.com Risk Management Great Ontario Yield Tour, Agronomist Ken Ferrie from Crop-Tech Consulting was they keynote speaker in Woodstock, Ont., he spoke about farming being an environmental triangle.

“Nothing we do in ag is in a vacuum,” Ferrie began his presentation. “As you make changes in your operation in one area, they're going to change in other areas.”

Every decision a farmer makes has consequences, good or bad, that will influence their crop and the future environment they are working in. The first part of the triangle is Mother Nature -- what Mother Nature is going to throw at farmers in terms of weather and growing conditions each year.

The next is physical, such as soil properties, ability to mineralize in the field, fertility, nutrient availability, soil type, residue management (no till operation or a conventional till operation), etc.

The final part of the triangle is human, such as landlord or government restrictions.

“We can put our head in the sand and ignore potential government restrictions, and get upset about them, but it's one of those things that it's going to happen, so the better we prepare to farm with these restrictions, the better off we will be.” Ferrie says we need to prepare for environmental regulations, and prepare to be part of the solution.

“Instead of complaining about it, figure out a solution that will be successful for your operation. Not just next year, but for the next generation.”

Ferrie advised farmers not to be afraid to experiment. He says if the government is talking about cover crops, and you have never raised a cover crop in your life, before you sign on to a program to put cover crops in all your acres, experiment with it. Get comfortable with it.

Think about how you would change your operation and experiment with it. You may want some of the experiments to be in a field away from the road, so that you can learn without others watching. And if the experiment does not work, Ferrie says ask yourself why didn't it work? What would you do different to make that actually work next time?


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