Farmers focus on sustainability during Lancaster conference

  • Rachel McDevitt/StateImpact Pennsylvania

(Lancaster) — About 2,000 farmers focused on sustainability during a recent conference in Lancaster.

The annual event hosted by the group PASA Sustainable Agriculture featured a range of sessions from best business practices to strategies for fighting the effects of climate change.

The agriculture and food production industries are responsible for about a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Speakers told audiences about the potential of regenerative agriculture methods to draw the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.

Some estimates show that if all farmland in Lancaster County used such practices, it could offset 39 percent of Lancaster City’s annual emissions.

PASA Executive Director Hannah Smith-Brubaker said they don’t prescribe to any one way to be sustainable.

They generally encourage data-supported methods of protecting and improving soil health, such as reducing soil disturbance like tillage and application of synthetic pesticides and planting cover crops.

“So, all of this together, it might look a little different on each farm, but it’s the best way we know right now to continue to be stewards of the land so that we can continue to produce food well into the future,” Smith-Brubaker said.

She added her organization’s members all view sustainability differently, but what’s most important to them is seeing agriculture as part of an ecosystem.

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