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Report: "Future Farming" Practices Work for NV

October 17, 2011

LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Nevada has a long and rich agricultural history of providing food and contributing to the state's economy. A new report looks at ways to help Nevada farmers save money, boost production and help the environment.

Eliav Bitan, agricultural advisor with the National Wildlife Federation, co-authored the report. He says for many farmers, soil erosion is a big concern, stripping nutrients from farmland. Bitan suggests a practice called "cover cropping" on ground that otherwise would be bare is a viable solution.

"A cover crop is just another crop, but it is planted during the fallow period. That crop will grow. It'll soak up any of those extra nutrients. Then it'll die and return those nutrients to the soil, so the farmer can use those nutrients next year."

Farming is a top 10 industry in Nevada. According to the state Department of Agriculture, each Nevada farmer feeds 128 people in the United States.

Organic produce is gaining in popularity with consumers, Bitan says, and organic farming practices like cover cropping can be more profitable for farmers.

"A farmer can benefit on the bottom line by reducing fertilizer costs or herbicide costs, at the same time as wildlife and water quality can benefit."

The report says organic farming practices also require 60 percent less energy use, compared to traditional farming methods.

The full report, "Future Friendly Farming: Seven Agricultural Practices to Sustain People and the Environment," is available at http://bit.ly/obsTdo.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NV