- Collaborative Effort: The Future of Farming Project is a joint initiative by the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, Auburn University College of Agriculture, and the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station. The project aims to promote sustainable farming practices in Alabama.
- On-Farm Demonstrations: The project establishes on-farm demonstrations to help farmers adopt soil, nutrient, and water conservation practices.
- Precision Irrigation: Brenda Ortiz, an Alabama Extension specialist, is working on precision irrigation techniques that allow water to be applied to plants at the right time and place, thereby reducing water waste and increasing yields.
- Economic Barriers: The project also addresses the economic challenges farmers face in adopting conservation practices, helping them understand the costs and benefits to make informed decisions.
- Nutrient Management: Rishi Prasad, another specialist, is focusing on nutrient management, emphasizing the 4R principles: the right rate, right time, right source, and right method of application.
In collaboration with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System and the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station, Auburn University has launched The Future of Farming Project. This initiative aims to increase the adoption of sustainable farming practices among Alabama’s agricultural community.
A Focus on Sustainability
“We are helping farmers adopt digital technologies and sustainable agricultural practices,” said Brenda Ortiz, an Alabama Extension specialist. Ortiz specializes in precision irrigation, helping farmers apply water to plants at the right time and place, reducing water waste, and increasing crop yields.
Addressing Economic Challenges
Leah Duzy, an agricultural economist at Compliance Services International, highlighted farmers’ economic challenges in adopting conservation practices. “For growers to invest in practices such as cover crops and smart irrigation, they need to understand the costs and benefits that will impact their profitability,” she said.
Nutrient Management and Conservation
Rishi Prasad, another specialist involved in the project, focuses on nutrient management. He helps farmers practice the 4R principles to ensure profitable crop harvests while minimizing environmental nutrient losses. “Fertilizers are expensive, and losing them means losing money and contributing to environmental issues,” Prasad noted.
Regional On-Site Demonstrations
The project has partnered with Posey Farms in North Alabama, L.C. Farms in South Alabama, and Lazenby Farms in Central Alabama for on-site demonstrations. These partnerships allow Alabama farmers to learn from both researchers and their peers. Mitch Lazenby of Lazenby Farms shared his experience of adopting conservation practices over the last 25 years, emphasizing the nuances involved in these practices.