Skip to main content

earth day

Every Day is Earth Day for Ag Producers

After a trip to Colorado’s Pikes Peak in 1893, Katharine Lee Bates wrote the lyrics to “America the Beautiful.” The memorable words paint a sensory-rich picture of “amber waves” and “fruited plains” that celebrate our land and the true wealth of any nation – agriculture. Today, according to the 2017 Census of Agriculture, the United States has more than 900 million acres of land in farms; that’s 40% of all U.S. land. And we rely on the 3.4 million producers, around 1% of our population, to manage that land and provide food, feed, fiber and fuel for our nation and the world.

Conservation Tools Help Producers Make Positive Impacts on Changing Climate

America’s farmers and ranchers are helping put the nation on track to a healthier and more resilient environment in the face of a changing climate. While agriculture only contributes 9 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, it offers a variety of opportunities to reduce emissions and cut carbon from the atmosphere. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is committed to help producers become even better conservation stewards by providing the tools they need to do the job.

The State of the Forest

The United States forest products industry accounts for approximately four percent of the nation’s total manufacturing GDP, producing over $200 billion in products every year. To keep tabs on the condition and status of America’s forest resources over time, the USDA Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis Program compiles the official estimates for all public and private forest lands in the country. This long-term trend information is used to inform economic, policy, and management decisions at a range of scales.

On Farms and Ranches, Every Day is Earth Day

At USDA, we celebrate Earth Day 2019 by offering big thank-yous to farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners for all they do. Every day, we recognize their efforts to conserve natural resources while producing food, fiber, and fuel for people in their communities and around the world. They’re doing what needs to be done to make sure we all enjoy the benefits of clean and plentiful water and healthy soils, ecosystems, and wildlife habitat.

Earthworms Work Wonders for Soils

Think earthworms are only good for fish bait? Think again! Earthworms play a valuable role in soil health and viability in forests, prairies, gardens and even on farmland.

Earth Day is a good time to recognize earthworms as environmental helpers. They feed primarily on organic material in soils, eating fresh and decaying material from plant roots, including crops like corn and soybeans. As they feed, they move and mix their waste with the soil in a moist, microbe-rich environment. Earthworm tunnels bring in oxygen, drain water and create space for plant roots. Their natural feeding habits mean that small amounts of soil pass through their bodies and, surprisingly, when they excrete it, it is in better condition—what goes in comes out much better!