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Source: Michigan Corn Growers Association news release

A group of environmental advocates participated in a multi-stop farm tour today to see firsthand how Michigan's corn farmers are using new technology and best practices to protect the environment, improve water quality, and mitigate the effects of extreme weather and a changing climate.

"Michigan's farmers are heavily affected when we experience climate change and extreme weather like the recent floods, droughts and record cold temperatures," said Nic Clark, Michigan director of Clean Water Action.

"It's critical that we all work together to find ways to address these challenges. It was great to see firsthand how Michigan's farms are innovating and using new technology and farming practices to feed our population while protecting our Great Lakes, rivers and streams."

One practice highlighted on the tour is site-specific agriculture, which combines cutting-edge technology and science to boost crop production and protect the environment. For example, many Michigan farmers employ the 4R system, which refers to using the right fertilizer source, at the right rate, at the right time and in the right place.

To achieve this, farmers split their fields into grids and sample the soil in each section of the grid. That data is uploaded into the farm equipment. The equipment is guided by GPS and automatically adjusts the levels of seed and fertilizer to ensure that each section of the field only receives what is needed.

"Michigan's farmers are excited to do our part when it comes to protecting the environment and improving our water quality," said Jim Zook, executive director of the Michigan Corn Growers Association. "Our state is a leader in the Midwest when it comes to the percentage of farm acres that use site-specific agriculture. We are eager to showcase the hard work our farmers are doing to be good stewards of Michigan's air, land and Great Lakes."

The tour included multiple stops around Mid-Michigan, including:

Pat Feldpausch's farm in Fowler, where participants got a hands-on look at advanced, precision agriculture technology;

Jeff Sandborn's farm in Portland, where participants learned how farmers use site-specific agriculture to boost yields and reduce environmental impacts;

Crop Production Services in Woodbury, where participants saw how fertilizer is produced and learned about best practices for responsible application; and

Carbon Green Bioenergy, an ethanol plant in Lake Odessa, where participants took a tour of the facility to learn how local corn is processed into biofuels to power our cars.

"Farmers are the original environmentalists," said Sandborn. "Not only does our livelihood depend on protecting the soil and water, but our families live in the same communities where we farm. This tour was a great opportunity to show how today's farmers are using cutting-edge technology to get the highest yields with the lowest environmental impact."

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