Reblogged: Sustainability, the New Buzz Word

From the Field is a bi-monthly column written by Mark Campbell, Farm Bureau Field Services Director for the Central District. He writes about Farm Bureau member benefits and County Farm Bureau activities.
 
Sustainability is the hot buzz word that everyone talks about these days.  Some people have different definitions of the word, but Wikipedia defines it, in part, as “to maintain, support or endure.”  Further information on the Wikipedia page on sustainability was as varied as there are opinions on what sustainable is and more than I wanted to endure.  But I think most people would agree that a sustainable practice has outputs that are equal or greater than the inputs, without totally depleting the inputs.
Water is one of those inputs, and we all use it.  Farmers and ranchers wisely utilize water to produce food, fiber, and other products.  I can cite numerous examples where agriculturalists have stepped up to the plate to meet the demands of a rapidly growing global population by using less water, land, fertilizer and fuel.
I want to highlight a local agriculture family business that defines sustainability and recently won an award for it.  Saunders Brothers, of Piney River, won the 2013 Environmental Stewardship Award from the Virginia Nursery and Landscape Association (VNLA).  Saunders Brothers is a large scale wholesale nursery and fruit producer in Nelson County.  Saunders Brothers started doing Evapotranspiration (ET)- based irrigation during the summer of 2011.  The goal of ET-based irrigation is to determine the amount of water lost from a containerized plant during one day and to replace exactly that amount through irrigation.  They have been conducting cutting edge research with the University of Florida on ET-based irrigation….

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