It’s our nature
Mississippi farmers are stewards of the environment for today and tomorrow.
Mississippi farmers spend each day growing crops and caring for animals, and are world leaders in the production of safe, high quality and economical food.
Because Mississippi farmers rely on the land, we are also exceptional stewards, and we perform our work in ways that protect the environment. In fact, farmers lead the world in environmental initiatives. We’re proud of how we care for our land.
Our future depends on our ability to take good care of our
land and water. It’s a job we take seriously.
Farmers protect water sources by creating buffer strips along streams; fencing livestock out of streams and ponds; storing manure, fertilizers, fuel and pesticides properly; and upgrading wells.
In days gone by, farmers would work their soil‚ “tilling” every spring and fall in order to control weeds and prepare the fields for planting crops. Today, many farmers till less frequently, if at all, to reduce soil erosion and soil compaction. Less tillage also preserves natural organic matter and promotes a habitat for earth worms and other soil-dwelling creatures. There are other “green” benefits, as well.Less tillage also means that farmers use less fuel, therefore reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
When it rains, it pours.
Weather obviously plays a role in all agriculture. Excessive rainfall can damage or destroy crops in the same way that drought can. And the effects are felt beyond food crops headed to your local grocery store. A poor growing season can affect livestock prices due to increased feed costs.
Bad weather can cause farmers to lose entire crops, but insects, weeds and diseases can also wreak havoc on the harvest.
Farmers work hard to protect their crops using a management process known as Integrated Pest Management (IPM). IPM focuses efforts on prevention by growing healthy plants in healthy soil. Controlling the health of plants and soil through proper pH balance, irrigation and other means is key to IPM success, but these methods are not the only weapon in the farmer’s arsenal.
Like humans, plants need nutrients to grow. When a crop is harvested from a field, some of the nutrients from the soil are also removed. Farmers must to replace these lost nutrients by adding fertilizers each year to keep their soil productive and healthy.
Farmers analyze their soils to determine precisely which nutrients need to be added, and in what amount. Over time, these test results create a “nutrient management plan” — a strategy to ensure that only those nutrients which are required are added back to the soil, eliminating any possibility of soil contamination or water pollution.
Even with the best management, sometimes problems do occur. If this occurs, farmers may utilize pesticides, herbicides or other remedies after all other methods of control have been considered.