Does it seem like everyone is talking about sustainability? They are.
We are at a pivotal moment in agriculture to adopt new practices and management styles to maintain and expand production levels to feed a growing population. There is no such thing as too many conversations about protecting water quality or enhancing soil health.
We should be engaging in conversations with our peers, business partners and legislators about our efforts to preserve and enhance our resources.
Conferences provide an excellent opportunity for farmers and agriculturists to set goals and make plans for the new year. Gathering to share ideas and network with peers, experts, neighbors and friends is a springboard for progress. During fall and winter, I attended several conferences. The opportunity to engage in and be present for conversations happening around sustainability was invaluable as I prepare to share your stories in 2023.
Sustainable Ag Summit – Glendale, Arizona
The Sustainable Agriculture Summit was hosted by Field to Market and the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. The summit is the premier sustainability event for and by agriculture. Organizations throughout the food supply chain were represented to learn, develop and advance a shared vision for the future of agriculture.
Sessions helped to define the nuanced ‘sustainability’ term and outline priorities as we advance towards our goals. Attendees were challenged to think of sustainability in terms of productivity and efficiency as well as environmentally. We share common goals across the supply chain, and we must meet the moment to protect the future of agriculture and feed a growing population.
Big Soil Health Event – Cedar Falls, Iowa
The Big Soil Health Event hosted by SoilRegen was a ground-up educational experience for farmers, landowners and agriculture professionals. The conference encouraged and illuminated soil health practice adoption.
Firsthand testimonials from other farmers provided practical boots-on-the-ground training for new farmers and early adopters of regenerative agriculture. Sessions explored how soil health principles can benefit your bottom line. There is no one-size-fits-all regenerative agriculture practice, but farmers and landowners left inspired to try something new on their farm and continue idea-sharing with their neighbors and communities.
Cover Crops and Discovery Farms Conference – Wisconsin Dells
UW-Extension and Discovery Farms brought sustainability closer to home with the joint Cover Crops and Discovery Farms Conferences.
During this conference, attendees explored the variability of soils across Wisconsin and heard firsthand testimonies from farmers and researchers on the frontlines of innovation.
During the cover crops portion of the conference, attendees heard from farmers about the practices and cover crop blends used on their farms.
The Discovery Farms portion of the conference explored nitrogen utilization and management. Attendance has grown significantly in the short tenure of the Cover Crops and Discovery Farms Conferences, proving that interest in sustainability and conservation is greater than ever and we are making progress towards our sustainability goals.
As we continue to innovate toward our own sustainability goals it is important to be present where these conversations are taking place. I’m honored to represent Wisconsin Farm Bureau members at events and conferences to share your stories and bring ideas home to you.
What events do you attend to engage on these topics? Don’t be left out of the sustainability conversation.
Rachel Gerbitz is WFBF’s Director of Sustainability Communications and Partnerships. In this newly-created role, she oversees the organization’s sustainability communication efforts. Rachel grew up in Rock County where she was involved in 4-H and the Wisconsin Junior Holstein Association. She now lives in Kaukauna. In her spare time, Rachel manages her small herd of registered Jersey cattle.