Jun. 16, 2010
National Corn Growers Association reports:
A new peer-reviewed study from Stanford University, demonstrating how modern agriculture has slowed the pace of global warming, comes as no surprise to the National Corn Growers Association, which has helped track and report progress on environmental sustainability in corn farming.
"We have long known our growers are committed to their work in a sustainable fashion, doing more with less, and this is welcome evidence of it," said NCGA president Darrin Ihnen, a South Dakota farmer. "So many of our farms are multigenerational, and we honor the value of preserving our farms for future generations. Our work in promoting modern agriculture helps reduce impacts while growing more corn per acre."
The research, led by two scientists from Stanford University, found that high-yield agriculture has prevented large amounts of greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere, the equivalent of 590 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide. A Stanford news release stated that, if not for increased yields, additional greenhouse gas emissions from clearing land for farming would have been equal to as much as a third of the world's total output of greenhouse gases since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution in 1850.
Click here for more information on the Stanford study, which will be published online soon by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
NCGA is an active participant in the Field to Market Keystone Alliance on Sustainable Agriculture, which brings together a diverse group of grower organizations, agribusinesses, food companies, conservation groups, universities, and agency partners to focus on defining and measuring the sustainability of food and fiber production.
In its 2009 report, Field to Market tracked progress according to five sustainability measures, and found that overall efficiency of resources has improved over the past decade due to gains in productivity. When it comes to corn production, the following progress was reported between 1987 and 2007:
* Corn's productivity gains have allowed for a 37 percent reduction in the land needed to produce one bushel.
* When combined with productivity advances, soil loss per bushel of corn produced has decreased by 69 percent.
* Irrigation efficiency per bushel has seen a with a decrease of 27 percent.
* Factoring in improved yields, the energy used to produce a bushel or unit of corn has decreased by 37 percent.
* Corn has seen a 30 percent decrease in emissions per bushel.
Click here for more information on Field to Market.