No-till or conservation tillage – a way of farming that reduces erosion (aka soil loss) while using less energy – is used on more than twice as many cropland acres compared to conventional tillage. Advanced conservation practices are used on more than 50% of cropland acres.
Farmers, ranchers and other landowners have enrolled a total of 24,000,000 acres in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) to protect the environment and provide habitat for wildlife. Since its inception in 1986, the program has reduced soil erosion by 8,000,000,000 Tons, annually cut sediment leaving fields by more than 300,000,000 Tons, and has restored more than 2,000,000 acres of wetlands.
Two important CRP initiatives included in the farm bill are introduction of native grasses and installation of conservation buffers. Buffers improve soil, air and water quality, enhance wildlife habitat, and create scenic landscapes.
CROPLAND USE PRACTICES (In acres)
No-Till (aka Direct Seed) 96,476,496
Conservation Tillage 76,639,804
Conservation Easement 13,186,093
Cover Crops Planted 10,280,793
USDA Conservation Programs 27,485,000
Conservation Tillage 105,707,971
Each year, hundreds of thousands of trees are planted on farmland. More than half of America’s farmers intentionally provide habitat for wildlife. Deer, moose, fowl and other species have shown significant population increases for decades.
-2017 American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture
Sources: Census of Agriculture (2012) USDA-NRCS