(NC)—There is no doubt that concern for the environment has been growing over the past decade. But, farmers have been environmentalists long before thoughts of climate change and inconvenient truths became common. Farmers work hard to preserve the land because it is so important to their work and their lifestyle.
If you’re ever on a trip through the country, take a look at the signs beside the mailboxes at farm gates. Many farmers showcase their proud heritage with a “Century Farm” sign indicating that their family has been farming that particular section of land for over 100 years.
Ensuring that farm land stays productive for generations requires careful management and farmers take it very seriously. Farmers rotate crops through different fields to ensure the soil is not depleted of the same nutrients year after year. Organic matter – decomposed plants – also helps improve the soil’s fertility. Farmers often grow cover crops, which are grown only to be ploughed into the soil, or leave residue such as corn stalks and wheat straw in the field to improve their soil health.
Caring for the land goes beyond the soil. Farms are home to lots of wildlife and farmers work hard to protect them. By providing habitat for wildlife in the form of woodlots, ponds and fields, farms are home for a great number of species.
Next time you’re out and about in the countryside, try to spot the century farm. Farmers are proud of their heritage and many hope to pass their land on to the next generation.