Letter: Farmers taking steps to be better neighbors

As a Benton County farmer for 25 years, I’ve seen big improvements in the farming industry. For the past 25 years, I’ve used no-till farming, a practice designed to not disturb the soil after harvest and minimize erosion. That way, the naturally rich and fertile soil stays on my farm and out of the waterway.

Additionally, in the fall, I plant cover crops to provide additional ground cover. Much like the no till, the deep root structure of the cover crops act as an anchor in the soil to prevent erosion and boost soil health while protecting water quality.

I’ve seen big advancements in livestock farming also. Back when I had livestock, we didn’t have the Master Matrix process for expanding a farm. The Matrix has been under a lot of scrutiny lately, with critics saying it doesn’t do enough and is flawed.

Farmers who go through the Matrix process work with environmental experts to find the best spot for their barn to protect the environment. To pass the Matrix and build a livestock barn, farmers must exceed a set threshold for three criteria: air, water and community impact.

Like any industry, farming isn’t perfect, but from my decades in agriculture, I can tell you farmers are embracing challenges and taking steps to be better neighbors, improve the environment and provide the best livestock care.

Al Schafbuch


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