Future Friendly Farming
Seven Agricultural Practices to Sustain People and the Environment
Ryan Stockwell and Eliav Bitan
America’s farmers provide food, fuel, and fiber for a
growing nation. They also provide other valuable
services like water management, water filtration,
soil protection, recreation, and wildlife habitat. Today,
people are placing increasing demands upon our lands for
more goods and services. As a result, America’s farmers
and foresters must obtain the most from our lands while
protecting these precious resources to meet the needs of
future generations. In order to sustain ourselves and future
Americans, farmers and foresters must take a fresh look at
how they manage the land.
Download the full report: Future Friendly Farming: Seven Agricultural Practices to Sustain People and the Environment (pdf)
Increased variability in commodity prices, input costs, and
weather patterns is leading to increased uncertainty for
farmers. In an ever-changing world and industry, those best
able to consistently produce while reducing costs will hold
a competitive advantage. The innovative future friendly
farming practices outlined in this report can help growers
gain an economic advantage by reducing their costs while
increasing their crop yields, productivity, and revenue.
In addition to providing tools to address increasing
uncertainty and production challenges for farmers, future
friendly farming practices offer solutions to pressing
environmental issues. The techniques discussed here—
cover crops, conservation tillage, organic management,
rangeland and grassland management, forest
management, anaerobic digesters, and increasing native
ecosystems—benefit nature in the following ways:
- Cover crops increase water management capacity,
reduce erosion and nutrient loss, and improve wildlife
- Conservation tillage reduces erosion while increasing
nesting cover for birds and wildlife.
- Organic farming eliminates chemical use, increases
soil fertility and increases wildlife habitat.
- Grassland management boosts soil fertility, biodiversity,
and grassland ecosystem health.
- Forest management increases soil fertility and
- Anaerobic digesters reduce threats to water quality and
provide local renewable electric and thermal energy.
- Retaining and returning land to native ecosystems
increases biodiversity, wildlife habitat, and improves
The seven techniques highlighted in this report offer
valuable ecosystem services that will save taxpayers,
farmers, and consumers money. Implementing these
practices will reduce costs associated with water filtration,
flood prevention, wildlife habitat preservation, and other
critical land management issues.
Climate change poses a threat to current and future
generations, with serious implications for our food supply,
water, and wildlife resources. Consequently, it is important
to recognize key tools for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG)
emissions and adapting to the realities of a changing
climate with more extreme weather events. Future friendly
farming and forestry practices offer shovel-ready and highly
cost-effective emissions reductions and sequestration
methods to begin decreasing atmospheric greenhouse
gas concentrations. The practices discussed here will prove
useful to farmers seeking to reduce the uncertainty tied to
climate change. These cost-effective strategies will be vital
in helping agriculture address and adapt to climate change,
all the while improving profit margins for farmers and
sustaining opportunities for the next generation to farm.