Sustainability in Agriculture
America’s farmers and ranchers are piloting the way in the agricultural industry to practice climate-smart systems that reduce emissions, enrich the soil, and protect both water and air, all while generating more reliable food, fiber, and renewable fuel than ever before.
The U.S. agriculture contributes just 10% to overall GHG emissions and plays an active role in enhancing wildlife and absorbing carbon. 10% is far less than any other major industry in our country so rural farmers and ranchers alike should be proud of these current sustainability metrics.
As farm efficiency practices increase, emissions are dropping significantly within the livestock sector. Although livestock emissions get a lot of attention in dialogues around sustainability, they now only make up less than 4% of overall emissions in the U.S., which is continuously declining, all thanks to the effective improvements in feed and production.
U.S. agriculture would have needed nearly 100 million more acres 30 years ago to match today’s production levels.
Not only are our agricultural practice more sustainable, farmers themselves are also improving efficiency as well. The new trend is to promote the use of healthy soil by planting cover crops and adopting practices that reduce and, in some cases, eliminate the need for tilling, also known as turning the soil over. Healthier soil means cleaner air and water across our beautiful Colorado farmland, which is established by farmers trapping carbon in the soil and reducing runoff. Agricultural landowners are actively committed to improving land ethics, and it all starts with climate-smart sustainability.
The Leopold Conservation Award: Colorado
The Leopold Conservation Award Program is a prestigious award that recognizes agricultural landowners in Colorado who are actively committed to a land ethic. The Sand County Foundation, American Farmland Trust and several other prominent state conservation partners present the esteemed honor each year to those have represented the high standard of land ethics and practices this conservation committee encourages. The Colorado Leopold Conservation Award consists of $10,000 prize money, an exquisite crystal award, and pronounced narrative that showcases each winners’ achievements among their peers.
The Leopold Conservation Award here in Colorado is a prominent and productive investment in private lands conservation. It recognizes and celebrates extraordinary achievement in voluntary agricultural conservation by private landowners, inspires countless other rural farm landowners by example and provides a popular platform by which Colorado agricultural community leaders are recognized as conservation ambassadors to citizens outside of the industry. Additionally, the program builds bridges between agriculture, government, environmental organizations, and local academia to advance the sustainable cause of private lands conservation.
Farm Credit of Southern Colorado has several committee members that have been Leopold Conservation Award recipients for several years now, being respectfully recognized by the Colorado agricultural community. The celebration of our members with this outstanding private land stewardship is a congratulatory achievement we are proud to support.
Farm Credit of Southern Colorado is proud to be a Platinum Sponsor this year to the Leopold Conservation Award.
To learn more about The Leopold Conservation Award, visit SandCountyFoundation.org.