By Steve Mercer, USW Vice President of Communications

No two wheat fields in the world are alike. The fact is, there can be wide variations within a field or even a very small sections of a field.

Not that long ago, farmers had limited ability to change production strategies in ways that more directly correlated with this natural variability. Now, however, farmers in the United States and around the world have high-technology systems that allow them to instantly adjust seed, fertilizer and crop protection inputs with near pinpoint accuracy, ensuring the right rates are applied or seeded in the right location while on the go in their field.

According to information from “Let’s Grow Together,” an online information source in Washington state to help consumers better understand agriculture, “farmers collect information using crop yield monitors, soil maps and global positioning systems (GPS). The yield monitor measures the amount of wheat harvested and the GPS uses satellite signals to track the exact location where the yield measurements were taken.”

The resource notes that software creates a detailed map of high- and low-yield zones. Using enhanced GPS guidance systems, the wheat farmer can operate seeding and application equipment with as little as 2.5 centimeters (about one inch) of overlap. Such precision drastically reduces waste and the unnecessary application of fertilizer and crop protection products.

“I believe this technology makes us far more efficient,” said Janice Mattson, who with her family grows hard red winter and hard red spring wheat in Montana’s “Golden Triangle” region. “There is a financial benefit in using only what we need, but we also see environmental benefits on our own land, in our communities and for our customers.”


Janice Mattson sees environmental benefits from precision agriculture.


U.S. farmers know that seeking ways to improve the sustainability of the crop and environment is increasingly important to the world’s buyers and wheat food processors.

Jeff Newtson, who with his family grows soft white wheat in northeastern Oregon, says technology like satellite imagery of crops helps them vary the rate of fertilizer across the hilly terrain of their farm to produce more uniform wheat.


Jeff Newtson says precision agriculture helps his family produce a more consistent soft white wheat crop for overseas buyers.


“We know that our customers want high-quality food products and 90 percent of the wheat we grow is exported,” said Newtson. “They come from overseas to support our farm and our families, so we have to give them a good product in return.”

“We have changed and adapted and we will keep changing and adapting,” said David Clough, who grows hard red spring wheat in central North Dakota. “We are doing that to survive economically and to keep our land in good shape for future generations.”


David Clough says farmers will keep changing and adapting to survive economically and keep their land in good shape.


“First and foremost, sustainability is economical and generational, which leads to environmental sustainability,” said Mark Linnebur, a family farmer from Byers, Colo.

His family’s focus on applying high-technology and no-tillage systems as well as other practices is all about being good stewards of the land.

“We are not trying to mine the land for what we can get out of it in the near term,” he said, “because we want to pass it on to our children.”


Mark Linnebur says sustainability on the farm is economic and generational.


Caption for image at the top of this page: Precision agriculture is allowing farmers to adjust inputs to near pinpoint accuracy, enhancing sustainable wheat production. Photo copyright “Let’s Grow Together.”


The American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) and the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) have jointly developed “Innovature,” a new resource to encourage a thoughtful dialogue around innovation in food and agriculture and the tangible benefits for our planet, our health and our food.


Through its website, social media and other activities, “Innovature” aims to foster productive conversations between key thought leaders and the public and cultivate broad partnerships that can help realize the full, positive potential of evolving breeding methods like gene editing.


U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) supports finding new ways to improve wheat quality and increase production with less impact on the environment. New research in biotechnology and plant breeding innovations, and a deepening understanding of DNA, will help make this possible. Scientists can now make far more precise genetic changes to plants and animals to help address some of society’s most urgent challenges including climate change, sustainability, hunger and improving health and wellness.


USW welcomed the opportunity to have a place where wide-ranging, inclusive viewpoints about such innovations can be shared and discussed and we have collaborated on “Innovature” with the sponsoring organizations. We will continue to offer our support and recommendations moving forward.


The website features original content and news about plant and animal breeding methods and their beneficial effects. We encourage our stakeholders at home and around the world to explore and share the site and engage with “Innovature” on these social media platforms:


BIO and ASTA welcome story ideas and other submissions at To learn more about the two organizations, their missions and membership please visit and



“Innovature” is a new platform for engaging in discussion about plant and animal breeding methods and their beneficial effects on our plant, food and health. It includes the website above,, with original information and news, and an active social media agenda.


Photo Above: Copyright Oklahoma State University/Todd Johnson


With the 2018 U.S. winter wheat harvest complete and October right around the corner, U.S. wheat farmers are now seeding a new crop. Across the 18 states that represent 90 percent of the area planted to winter wheat last year, USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) estimates that 28 percent of the 2019 crop was planted as of September 23.


An image of wheat planting that caught our eye came recently from John McManigal, who grows soft white wheat with his family in Wasco County, Ore. John is an excellent agricultural field photographer and, with Mt. Hood looming over this mid-Columbia region, has a remarkable landscape on which to work. The photo he shared with U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) that we have posted here and his words tell an inspiring story of hope and renewal.


Seeding in Dust, Wasco County, Oregon,

Photo © John McManigal, Used with Permission


The Substation Fire started Tuesday, July 17, on US 197 near The Dalles, Ore., about 3:30 p.m. By evening it had raced east across Wasco County, jumped the Deschutes River and started up into Sherman County. The next day brought more wind. The fire gathered itself again and started another run to the east. By the end of the day on Wednesday, Mid-Columbia Producers figured roughly 2 million bushels of wheat went up in smoke.”


“That is my son Brad in the photograph seeding on Rich Kortge Farms, only about five miles east of where the Substation Fire started. This field had been left fallow last season but the vegetative cover was lost to the fire. The field in the background to the left of the fence was standing wheat that went up in flames on the afternoon of July 17.”


“It has not rained in months here and the seeding conditions look a little bleak.”


“But you know farmers. Maybe next year…”


By Jennifer Latzke, High Plains Journal, May 22, 2018, Excerpts Reprinted with Permission

Editor’s Note: This article covers innovative ways wheat farmer organizations and public universities in several Plains states are investing to produce more wheat with improvements for farmers and end users in ways that are most sustainable.

The reports from the U.S. Department of Agriculture can feel bleak. This year farmers are projected to plant the second lowest total wheat acreage on record for the U.S. since 1919 — 47.3 million acres.

Winter wheat acres for 2018 are at the second lowest acreage since 1909, at 32.7 million acres. From new branding efforts, to new structures, to innovative research many scientists and industry professionals across the High Plains are working to ensure that the breadbasket of the world stays right here.

Farmers growing hard white (HW) winter wheat have dealt with a “Catch-22” situation for years. To grow demand, they must grow more white wheat. But to grow the quantities to meet demand, they must have an established market for the wheat that makes segregation worth the price.

Kansas Wheat is rolling out a branding campaign, “High Plains Platinum,” that aims to capture the added value of hard white wheat while still growing production.

Aaron Harries, vice president of research and operations with Kansas Wheat, explained that Platinum is a project developed with a grant from the Kansas Department of Agriculture to establish and promote the high quality of hard white winter wheat grown in Kansas. Farmers plant Platinum-identified hard white winter wheat varieties that have excellent quality characteristics that millers and bakers demand. At harvest, the farmer takes his Platinum white wheat grain to a participating elevator that can then market that wheat to buyers as meeting the standards established by the program.

“It’s an effort to differentiate by establishing a market for hard white wheat through branding,” Harries said … In this case, Platinum white wheat must have: a minimum 12 percent protein; a minimum 60-pound test weight; less than 11.5 percent moisture; and contain less than 2 percent other classes of wheat. However, because of grain inspection rules a label or certificate can’t be attached to white wheat coming from a producer’s field.

With this attempt to establish a level of quality under the Platinum name, the hope is farmers and elevators can fully capture the value of their crop. And if this proves successful, the hope is neighboring states can come on board under the Platinum umbrella too.

Oklahoma Builds Capacity. In November 2017, [Oklahoma Foundation Seed Stocks] (OFSS) cut the ribbon on its new 20,000-square-foot facility at the Oklahoma State University Agronomy Research Station in Stillwater … to support the growing demand for certified seed from the public breeding program at Oklahoma State University.

Jeff Wright, coordinator of production and operations at OFSS, said this facility’s improved storage space means they can keep larger numbers of seed available for seedsmen to increase earlier in the variety release process.

“We are trying to have a larger amount of seed available so that when we do release a variety, it can get to the farmer at the end certified level quicker,” Wright said …

Currently, the Oklahoma Wheat Commission estimates that half of all the state’s wheat acres are planted with OSU-bred varieties. Sales revenue from those varieties goes back to OFSS to support future wheat breeding and research efforts. OFSS also licenses certain wheat varieties to Oklahoma Genetics, Inc.

Colorado Releases Grassy Weed Control. Grassy weed control in wheat acres is a challenge to growing high quality grain the market demands. But a new discovery out of Colorado State University is poised to revolutionize the market.

CoAXium is a wheat production system using the genetic trait, AXigen, identified through traditional wheat breeding methods at Colorado State University. Wheat varieties with the AXigen gene are immune to … a Group 1 ACCase inhibiting herbicide that controls grassy weeds, such as brome, feral rye, jointed goatgrass and wild oats.

Brad Erker is the new executive director for the Colorado Wheat Research Foundation. The CWRF takes ownership of CSU wheat varieties, and provides money to the wheat breeding program from royalties charged on those varieties …

“If we have a successful launch of a trait from a public institution like this, it shows that trait development at CSU is fruitful,” he said. “It could be the start of more patentable traits, and proving we can tackle the big problems wheat farmers face.”

Texas Drones Gather Data … Jackie Rudd, Texas A&M University wheat breeder, explained how his breeding program is utilizing new technology to better capture and crunch data.

“We’ve used a lot of sensor type data collecting rigs…” he said. “But this year we jumped in and we are using a drone to fly over plots and collect data.” Texas A&M invested in a data processing system that … tabulates that data and in a day’s time Rudd has at his fingertips plot by plot data and can make breeding decisions.

“We are increasing our efficiency and doing more with the resources we do have. We can reduce the time frame new varieties come out, and provide growers more and better material.”

And, the drone flyovers can happen on a daily basis, allowing Rudd to see how the plant changes day by day according to weather and other stressors. This year alone he’s been able to see daily changes to moisture on the dryland plots that he’s never been able to capture and quantify before. That makes a big difference when you’re trying to breed the next wheat variety that will perform well in harsh environmental conditions.

Nebraska Uses Genetic Markers for Improvement. Data is the key to finding the next great wheat variety. Today, with the sequencing of the wheat genome, Stephen Baenziger, wheat breeder for the University of Nebraska, can use genetic markers along with estimated breeding values to better select what lines to advance in his purebred and hybrid wheat variety trials.

“So, let’s say you go to a field and a couple of lines look similar, but you can predict one will work better,” Baenziger said. “Phenotypic data augmented with genotypic data shows us which is better.” It’s evaluating by sight, but also with genetic information found from DNA sequencing.

In 2016, … genomic data saved six years of wheat breeding and countless dollars invested. Ultimately, this tool means his program can be more efficient and provide a quicker return on investment for wheat growers …

“We are committed to the economic sustainability of the American farmer,” Baenziger said. “We’re going to try to get high quality and profitable wheat and save farmers money while they produce more.”


By Ben Conner, USW Director of Policy

Many European farmers breathed a sigh of relief this week as the European Commission chose to extend registration of the broad-spectrum herbicide glyphosate for five years. But farmers in Europe and elsewhere around the world are justifiably worried about the challenges represented by the European Union’s pesticide policy.

The extension of glyphosate approval is good news — even a bit surprising. The European Food Safety Authority has been emphatic in its position that glyphosate presents no human safety hazard when used in compliance with regulations. Yet the Commission only extended the registration for five years based only on a political compromise rather than sound scientific evidence or and accepted risk assessment standards. The activists trying to derail the glyphosate approval process are ignoring the integrity of that agency’s risk assessment process, which undermine the principles of scientific approaches to regulation.

The fight over glyphosate re-registration is symptomatic of broader concerns about pesticide policies in the European Union. Its so-called “hazard-based” approach to registration of certain pesticides and innovative plant breeding ignores scientific risk assessments that lead to standards for proper use of pesticides. This creates a greater risk of major trade disruptions, potentially including wheat and certainly including other food ingredients.

It should be noted that there are many well-meaning individuals who are sincerely concerned about the safety of their food supply and environment. As the father of two small children, I can certainly understand that. But to my mind, being able to put food on the table and ensure our planet can support future generations clearly outweighs immeasurably small odds of harm. My children deserve to live in a world that is willing to thoughtfully evaluate the risks and rewards of progress, based not on fear, but rather on accepted scientific evidence and standards.


By Elizabeth Westendorf, Assistant Director of Policy

It’s no secret that the U.S. wheat industry and its customers rely heavily on international trade rules to keep markets open and wheat moving. The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the prime example of this, particularly in its limits on tariffs and subsidies that have done so much to push towards a level playing field in global trade. But along with the WTO are other institutions that play a critical role in trade.

As traditional barriers to trade have decreased due to the WTO and other trade agreements, many countries have adapted and found new ways to protect industries, limit imports, or retaliate on trade issues (and clearly there are still many issues with traditional barriers!). Technical barriers – in particular sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) barriers that purportedly address health, safety, and environmental problems – are a big challenge in trade today and likely to be a growing concern in the future.

The WTO SPS Agreement identifies two additional international treaties that are relevant to wheat trade: the Codex Alimentarius and the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC). The Codex Alimentarius is a collection of standards, guidelines and practices that aim to protect consumer health while also ensuring fair practices in international trade, and the IPPC is the international standard setting body for plant health.

The most visible standards in wheat are probably the maximum levels for pesticide residues (MRLs), mycotoxins, and heavy metals set by Codex, but there are other influential standards for things like phytosanitary certificates and pest risk assessments adopted by the IPPC.

The SPS Agreement requires that any measures that a country adopts that are more trade-limiting than the standards developed by Codex and IPPC be scientifically justified, taking into account relevant factors like exposure and risk. Countries have every right to limit imports of unsafe products, whether they’re unsafe to their consumers or the environment, as long as they have gone through the process of providing sound justification. The WTO provides a clearing house of announcement for regulatory changes proposed by member countries, giving all others an opportunity to comment and object if needed. USW staff routinely monitor these announcements for any potential new restrictions on wheat trade.

Divergence from an international SPS measure is not necessarily a violation of trade commitments, but it can be a sign that something is wrong and needs to be fixed. The U.S. government has personnel dedicated to fixing these sorts of technical barriers and ensuring that standard setting bodies rely on the best science available and avoid acting as unnecessary impediments to trade.

The highly technical nature of SPS measures means that these measures are often difficult to implement properly and address if something is wrong. Following these standards or an alternative science- and risk-based process is extremely important for trade in wheat and wheat products to avoid market disruptions. The evolving nature of trade also means that these institutions need to pursue robust agendas while maintaining their scientific integrity so that they do not become pawns of agendas, but remain independent arbiters of good trade practices in SPS measures.


By Elizabeth Westendorf, USW Assistant Director of Policy

Justin Knopf’s family has been farming land in central Kansas for five generations — starting with their original homestead in the 1860s. Now, Knopf farms 4,000 acres with his father and brother, growing HRW wheat, alfalfa, grain sorghum, soybeans and corn.

“I feel like I have been given a gift to be able to work with the land, and that comes with responsibility,” said Knopf. “What I do impacts consumers, so it is important to take time and energy to be transparent with them and share the bigger story of what is happening in our landscape.”

Knopf is the last farmer in USW’s six-part series on farmer sustainability. USW has featured farmers from each class of U.S. wheat and from all over the country to highlight how their production practices are dependent on local factors and how they each address the goal of sustainability on their farm.

To Knopf, sustainability involves stewardship of resources in three areas — environmental, economic and human. He uses tools, research and continuing farm education opportunities to implement agronomic practices to protect natural resources such as soil, water and air, while also optimizing his production per unit of resources. This is environmental sustainability. Knopf also works to make economically responsible decisions for the farm because if it cannot survive as a business, he will not have a long-term ability to positively affect the environment down the road, which is economic sustainability. And finally, Knopf feels there is a human element to the sustainability conversation. He spends time focusing on the health and happiness of his family, his town and his neighbors while also working to educate consumers, which is social sustainability. All three of these are necessary for agriculture to thrive.

“The land will go on for much longer than I will be here, and it’s a much bigger story outside of myself, so I feel a responsibility to share that bigger story of what is happening with other people as a part of our stewardship,” said Knopf.

Knopf works to share his story by being involved in consumer outreach programs and sustainability research. Two years ago, in a partnership with Kansas Farm Bureau, he hosted a family on his farm for the day to show them how wheat is produced. Last year, Knopf was featured in the book “Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman: Conservation Heroes of the American Heartland” by Miriam Horn, which talked about his focus on improving soil health on his farm. A documentary film by the same title, narrated by award-winning journalist Tom Brokaw, and directed by Emmy-winning and Oscar-nominated Susan Froemke and Emmy-winning filmmaker John Hoffman, will premiere on the Discovery Channel in late August 2016.

Knopf’s emphasis on soil quality and increasing organic matter is particularly impressive. He does this by using no-till methods, carefully calibrating his crop rotations to maximize organic matter and experimenting with cover crops. These practices have improved his soil health, increased soil moisture and improved fertility, allowing him to reduce inputs like fertilizer and fuel and ultimately increase yields. As part of this constant effort to improve, Knopf experiments with new ideas on his farm to make sure that he is being a responsible land owner and manager.

“We see our soils as a fundamentally essential natural resource that is irreplaceable — and it takes a long time to build that soil up again if you lose it,” said Knopf. “And one of the foundational ideas of our family and our farm business is to be a steward of those natural resources and do everything we can to leave them in a better shape for the next generation.”

Learn more about Knopf and his farm at U.S. farmers, ranchers, fishermen and foresters also share their values, sustainability experiences and conservation practices at the U.S. Sustainability Alliance.


By Emily McGarry, USW Policy Intern

Bob Johns farms in northeast Oregon, and he would tell you that he’s been farming since the day he was born. Johns’ 5,000-acre farm has been in the family since 1873, but he is ready to retire soon. Since there is no family to take over, he is handing the reins to his business partner, Chris Williams, a long-time family friend who began working summers for Johns when he was in high school.

“I have been around agricultural stuff my whole life,” said Williams. “I am fascinated with starting with a bare piece of ground, seeing what you can grow and watching it progress through the season.”

Together, Johns and Williams grow wheat, green peas and alfalfa. They make sustainability a priority on the farm through no-till practices, clean water programs and new farming technology.

“Farming is my life and it’s what I’ve always wanted to do — I never thought of doing anything else,” said Johns. “My father’s life was farming and he passed that on to me. I hope to pass it on to my business partner, Chris.”

Johns is the fifth of six U.S. wheat farmers featured in USW’s series on wheat sustainability. He manages regional agricultural nuances by adapting his practices to be sustainable for his region’s soil and environmental conditions. Part of that also includes planning for the future and a non-traditional transition so that his farm business is still successful for years to come.

“Chris loves the land,” said Johns. “He keeps me on the cutting edge and pushes me to look at the latest technology. We are a good team.”

Northeast Oregon is known for its extremely steep farmland, which often requires special equipment and makes soil erosion a challenge. Johns sees wide variation in his soil quality and the amount of rainfall on his farm, so individual fields often require different levels of attention and inputs. In the past, steep slopes on his farm caused erosion. However, in 2011, Johns switched to no-till practices, which has cut his erosion to nearly zero and greatly improved soil health.

In order to protect the region’s natural resources, Johns and Williams also had their farm certified as “salmon-safe,” which means they restrict the products they use on their land that is near water sources. They also grow plants in those areas that increase the biodiversity on their farm and promote beneficial insects and wildlife.

“We value the environment and we value what we’re doing on the ground,” said Johns. “It’s important to us; we don’t just go out without thinking about those things.”

For Johns, this means finding ways to improve practices through new technology and innovation. Last year, Johns and Williams started experimenting with a drone on their farm to see if aerial photos of their fields could give them insight on crop health and stress levels, soil fertility and input requirements.

Johns and Williams are constantly finding new ways to improve the sustainability of their farm, whether through certification opportunities, government programs, or new technology and practices. But the piece that is most important is the plan for transition. Because Johns partnered with Williams, he knows that his farm will be in good hands when he retires — with someone who loves the land as much as he does.

Learn more about John’s and Williams’ farming partnership at U.S. farmers, ranchers, fishermen and foresters also share their values, sustainability experiences and conservation practices at the U.S. Sustainability Alliance.


By Elizabeth Westendorf, USW Policy Specialist

John Hoffman farms some of the same land that four generations of his family have managed since the late 1800s. Today, the farm covers roughly 3,200 acres where he grows corn, soybeans and soft red winter (SRW) wheat. For Hoffman, sustainability is key to preserving his family’s farming tradition for the next generation.

“I think we’re sustainable when every year we are able to plant a crop, harvest a crop, and do it again the next year,” said Hoffman. “If we are not sustainable, that would not happen — we would not stay in business every year.”

Hoffman believes being sustainable means being an early adapter of emerging practices on his farm. He tries to embrace the latest farming technologies to help improve his business, such as no-till and minimum till practices to improve soil health, GPS technology to increase accuracy and use inputs efficiently, and government conservation programs to give back to the environment.

Hoffman is the fourth of six U.S. wheat farmers featured in a USW series on wheat sustainability. These profiles show the differences in wheat production practices across the country and how those farming practices enhance the sustainability of U.S. agriculture.

“Family farming is a way of life, but it is also a large business,” said Hoffman. “Anything we can do to improve on what we do as business people, farmers and human beings to make things better, we are going to attempt to do it.”

A good example is how Hoffman uses a combination of no-till and minimum-till practices depending on crop need. No-till farming does not disturb the soil, which increases the amount of water that penetrates the soil surface and improves organic matter. Minimum-till helps warm the soil or reduce excess moisture. Both techniques reduce erosion compared to traditional tillage. He produces all his wheat and 80 percent of his soybeans with no-till technology, and he uses minimum tillage in corn production.

Access to better seed over the years has allowed Hoffman to improve his farming practices and use innovative techniques so that his farm is constantly improving. This story is true for many farmers, as plant breeding comes up with new varieties that respond to specific agronomic and economic challenges. That innovation is just another facet of the sustainability story.

“With the new genetics available in seed today, we can be more cost-effective and utilize less chemicals. That also made the no-till option a lot more practical,” said Hoffman. “Plus, the soil savings — the conservation aspect of it — we thought it was better for our land. It really helped reduce soil erosion.”

Another issue in Hoffman’s area is how farming affects water quality. By reducing soil erosion, he and other farmers reduce the amount of water that runs off their fields. Hoffman has also tried to reduce his inputs over the years to help with water quality and makes sure to use them intelligently — by not applying fertilizer on frozen ground or before a large rain, he makes sure that those inputs stay in the field instead of being washed away. On some of his land, he has been able to use government conservation programs and plant grass around the natural water runoff areas.

Hoffman’s farm has thrived because he has been able to innovate and adopt new technologies and practices over the years. At its core, that is what sustainability is about — constant improvement. Each of the farmers featured in USW’s Sustainability Profiles embody this idea. They do it in different ways, but with that one idea in common.

Learn more about Hoffman and his farm at U.S. farmers, ranchers, fishermen and foresters also share their values, sustainability experiences and conservation practices at the U.S. Sustainability Alliance.


By Elizabeth Westendorf, USW Policy Specialist

David Clough’s career as a farmer has been a journey of constantly evolving technology and improving practices. Clough started farming in North Dakota in 1969. The first few years were difficult because as a first-generation farmer he didn’t have a farm legacy to get him started; he was on his own. Now, he has been farming for almost 50 years, and his farm is thriving. Over the years, Clough has grown HRS wheat, edible beans, sunflowers, soybeans and barley. He says sustainability is a smart business decision and helps ensure his farm’s survival in the future.

Clough is one of six U.S. wheat farmers featured in a USW series on wheat sustainability. These profiles show the differences in wheat production practices across the country and how those farming practices enhance the sustainability of U.S. agriculture.

“As farmers, we have always been conservationists,” said Clough. “The land is our livelihood. We need it, so we try to preserve it in many ways.”

Clough has made a lot of changes on his farm over the years. Now, he uses advanced GPS technology to increase efficiency and conserve resources on his farm. These features mean there are no overlaps when he applies fertilizer or crop protection products, which is good for the environment, but also good for business.

“We weren’t as sustainable when I first started farming almost 50 years ago, but we have changed and adapted and we will keep changing and adapting,” said Clough. “We’re doing it to survive here and to keep our land in good shape for future generations.”

In the years that Clough has been farming, he has had to adapt to new technology, unpredictable markets and lean years. But diversifying his business on the farm helped him weather those changes. Today he has many more crops to plant in rotation, which also helps improve soil health and control weeds. He also sells seed and previously sold farm equipment as a side business. Clough credits his success in farming to his ability to embrace new technology and new sustainable farming practices.

“You’re writing stories as you go through life. How many good stories are you going to write? I have had about 47 chances to tell my farming story. I only get one chance a year to get it right, and some years, you don’t get it completely right,” said Clough. “Each year is a different story, and the way we react cannot be the same either. That is what makes farming challenging and rewarding every year.”

Learn more about Clough and his farm at U.S. farmers, ranchers, fishermen and foresters also share their values, sustainability experiences and conservation practices at the U.S. Sustainability Alliance.