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Sustainable ag practices on the rise

According to the new Rabobank U.S. Farm & Ranch Survey, more than 70 percent of U.S. agricultural producers now report that they have taken a range of measures on sustainable ag practices – the highest level since the survey began in 2008.

According to the survey, after a small decline in steps taken toward sustainable ag in the Rabobank Fall 2009 U.S. Farm & Ranch Survey, 72 percent of all U.S. ag producers now report that they have taken steps toward sustainable ag – the highest since the inception of the measurement.

“U.S producers understand that to be in the ag business for the long term means taking care of the land,” said Rabobank Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory Vice President Sterling Liddell.

The most significant steps are using direct seeding (64 percent), minimizing use of chemicals (42 percent), crop rotation or diversification (39 percent) and reduced energy inputs (39 percent).

The survey also found that those who were most likely to have taken steps toward sustainable ag practices were:

• Tenant farmers – 80 percent

• Row-crop farmers – 79 percent

• Farmers in the Western Region – 77 percent

• Farms with gross farm income of $1 million and more – 77 percent

• Farms run by someone less than 40 years old – 76 percent

• Farms with more than 3 employees – 74 percent

• Dairy producers – 73 percent

“Since larger producers tend to lead trends, it’s encouraging that they are making sustainable ag practices a part of their operations,” said Liddell.


Insights from agricultural producers – communicated in the Spring 2010 Rabobank U.S. Farm and Ranch Survey – were gathered by Kaliber Americas using Computer Assisted Telephone Interviews. Nearly 600 interviews were conducted in the last two weeks of March and early April. The sample group had a gross farm income of more than $250,000 with further splits for higher income groups in the three major U.S. agricultural regions.

A copy of the survey and further information is available at

TAGS: Management
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