When it comes to on-farm stewardship, Brian Thompson’s commitment to conservation on his Indiana farm doesn’t end at the edge of his corn and soybean fields. It extends to his local community through education and outreach. Over the past 20 years, Brian has implemented several new conservation practices, including crop rotation, no-till and variable-rate technology to protect our natural resources.
Throughout his conservation journey, Brian relied on trusted local partners at Premier Ag, a Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN™ agricultural retailer, to offer guidance about the right products and technologies to drive stewardship both for Brian and his business. Through Premier Ag’s connection to Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN, he has access to increased insights and resources to enhance his full approach.
For Brian, stewardship is a complex blend of environmentally friendly practices, smart economics and advocacy.
Choosing to be a good steward must make both economic sense long term and protect our natural resources including air, soil and water for the next generation. No-till practices help Brian reduce trips across the field, lowering carbon emissions and opportunities for soil compaction. Additionally, crop residue keeps the field covered to protect valuable soil from erosion and enrich it with organic matter. He also works with his agronomist to conduct soil sampling and then uses precision technology to apply the right products at the right rates on the right fields. This type of application helps him be more efficient with products while reducing environmental impact.
“We rent part of our land so, while it’s important to make a profit, it’s even more important to know that when we release it, the land will be in good shape,” said Brian.
Additionally, Brian knows that responsible stewardship is not limited to his farm. It is about the larger community as well. When Brian needs to spray crops with pesticides, he lets his neighbors know his plans. For example, Brian personally stops by to explain what he’s doing and when he plans to be in the field to his neighbor who has a large backyard garden near his field. He is also always willing to answer questions about GMOs, farm technology and anything else that might be on the minds of local consumers.
“I enjoy explaining what I do on my farm because it’s important to keep the community happy. I try to be respectful and not push anything on them. I think they appreciate the transparency,” Brian stated.
His commitment to transparency and conservation has benefits that extend outside of Indiana, too. As many of today’s U.S.-grown crops are processed and shipped to other countries, Brian tries to be proactive about meeting sustainability requirements of customers around the world. With the help of Premier Ag and Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN, he can.
“I appreciate that Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN advocates for farmers, provides us with online resources and tools, and is connected to my local retailer,” explained Brian. “As I continue to take the next step to grow my conservation efforts, I know where to turn.”