corn field sunset

Earth Day on My Farm

Every day is Earth Day on our Illinois farms. Here are a few ways these local farmers stay focused on sustainability year-round:

“I believe that the most important part of my job is to take care of the land. The land is my main resource; I literally grow my crops and livestock from the ground up. No matter what I do as a farmer, I can only be as successful as the land allows me to be, so I make it a priority to take good care of our soil.” – Trent Sanderson, Clare, IL

“When we started raising cattle more than 60 years ago, it was to use land that was too rough or fragile to grow crops on. Cattle have always provided us a way to use our farm’s resources to the best ability. Our management and breeding practices have evolved since we started, but we have always had a focus on using scientifically backed information to make sustainable decisions. One thing that has stayed the same is our commitment to raising cattle that provide safe, nutritious, wholesome beef products to consumers. This is only achieved by providing humane treatment to every animal and using production practices that conserve and enhance our soil and water resources.” – Alan Adams, Sandwich, IL

“There’s a lot of talk around the word sustainability today — sustainably farmed, sustainably sourced, sustainably raised. Sustainability is a word that’s hard to define, probably because everyone has their own definition and ways of being more sustainable. As a fifth-generation Illinois farmer, my definition of sustainability is simple: Responsibly grow a successful crop today while protecting the land, water and air for future generations.” – Justin Durdan, Streator, IL

“Recycling is something that happens at Bohnert Farm 365 days a year, not just on recycling day. Dairy farmers like us live and work on their farm. It is very important to us to protect our land, water and air for our animals, families, surrounding communities and for our future generation.

Every day our kids see sustainability efforts in motion:

  • We haul our cows’ manure to the fields, which works as a natural fertilizer and is injected into the soil to maximize absorption and minimize odor.
  • We reuse the well water that cools down the temperature of our milk for our cattle to drink.
  • We include recovered by-products in our cows’ diets.
  • We use chopped straw and recycled newspaper for cows’ bedding.
  • Dairy farmers speak volumes for being green in our efforts – and just like The Lorax, feel it’s extremely important to take good care of our natural resources that give so much back to us.

Next time you pull your recycling bin to the curb, think of your local dairy farmer whose recycling and sustainability efforts are put to work every day to take care of their cows, their land and quite honestly, our planet.” – Karen Bohnert, East Moline, IL

“Swine manure is a very economical fertilizer. Farmers are looking at best management practices like manure injection which is the use of nitrogen inhibitors and cover crops to keep fertilizer in the field. These practices keep manure nutrients with the crops and reduce input costs.” – Phil Borgic, Nokomis, IL

“Illinois is blessed with some of the best soil and water on earth. The water on our farm is perfect – it’s naturally filtered through a limestone aquifer found deep under our land.

We don’t take that for granted. To protect our soil and water for future generations of Walter family farmers, we use fewer pesticides and fertilizers to grow corn. We recycle the leftover corn we use to make whiskey into livestock feed, and we use livestock manure as fertilizer. That’s all part of the circle of sustainable agriculture.” – Jamie Walter, Whiskey Acres, Dekalb, IL