Advances in modern agriculture allow today’s farmers to grow in ways that are measurably more sustainable. These practices help farmers retain topsoil and reduce erosion, conserve water in multiple ways, reduce emissions, protect pollinators, and protect natural resources by using farmland more efficiently. Modern agricultural practices, including crop rotation, keep crops healthy. Without them, the farmers’ crops would be more vulnerable to pests, diseases, and invasive weeds.
The sustainability benefits of modern agriculture are supported by local data collected by Boulder County. The paper linked below contains data collected from a variety of Boulder County farmers. It clearly demonstrates that farming techniques that utilize GMO seeds and responsible pesticide use produce better environmental results compared to conventional or organic farming methods. This includes factors that affect climate change. Continuing support for these modern agricultural practices is in keeping with Boulder County’s sustainability goals.
Implications of cropping systems in Boulder County
Pollinators are an essential part of food productions – and our farmers know it! That’s why farmers are invested in growing food in ways that protect pollinator populations. Here’s a few facts about pollinators:
- Bees help pollinate one-third of all food that we eat, either through direct pollination or spin-off effects.
- The number of honey bee colonies in the U.S. has been stable over the last 20 years.
- Overwintering loss, when bees die during the cold weather of the winter, is tracked through surveys. Overwintering hive losses have decreased since the winter of 2006/2007.
- Before a genetically modified crop can be grown commercially, researchers must demonstrate that the new plants are not harmful to “non-target” insects, like bees and butterflies.
- Genetically modified crops (like Bt corn) have been shown to be safe for native pollinators.
- The scientific community recognizes that the cause of bee deaths is not a single toxin or disease, but rather from a variety of factors that include introduced pests and parasites, microbial diseases, inadequate diet, and loss of genetic diversity.
Farmers have a responsibility to make sure their farming practices remain safe, sustainable and protective of the land we all live on.