Just like any other industry, farming has made great changes in the last 40 years, becoming more efficient and utilizing more technology. Farmers today are thinking more about the environment when making decisions about their farms as well.
For example, farmers have increased their use of conservation tillage – the practice of leaving residue from last year’s crop on the field, reducing soil and water erosion – from 17 percent of farmland in 1982 to 63 percent of farmland in 2013. They’ve also decreased their energy usage. The energy used to produce one bushel of soybeans has decreased 48 percent since 1980. That’s enough saved energy per bushel to heat a home through the winter.
Today, South Dakota farmers take pride in continuously improving the way they farm and work with the land. That means adopting new technology to be as precise as possible with seed planting and pesticide applications, while decreasing the amount of fuel and water used in farming.
We asked Monica, a third-generation farmer from Claremont, what she does differently than farmers of past generations.