Sunday, September 19, 2010

Dairy Sustainability Insurance


Dairy farmers don't talk much about being "green" or "sustainable" because we have been practicing environmental stewardship every day for generations. Protecting the land,water and air on the farm is what I consider insurance for the continuation of our family farm for future generations. The environmental impact and profitability of small or large farms is improved with the efficient use of natural resources. Since 1985 our farm has been permitted by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality. This permit allowed us to build holding areas for liquid and dry manure and use the nutrients to fertilize the soil under the guidance of certified nutrient management plans. Nutrient management plans are developed using sound science and designed by professioinal environmental engineers working with the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Proper handling and use of manure aids in fertilization of the soil, conserves water and protects air quality. As I was listening to the staff member from the Environmental Protection Agency talk to dairy and poultry farmers this week in Northwest Arkansas, I thought about how we work every day to live the dairy industry's definition of sustainability--"providing consumers with the nutritious dairy products they want in a way that makes the industry,people and the earth economically,environmentally, and socially better--now and for future generations." You can find more information about how dairy farmers care for the environment at http://www.dairyfarmingtoday.org/. Sharing information about how we care for our animals and the environment is an added feature of my sustainability insurance policy!

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