For Immediate Release
Contact: John Hansen 402-476-8815
Nebraska Farmers Union Recognizes Two White House Champions of Change for “Sustainable and Climate-Smart Agriculture” from Nebraska
LINCOLN, NE. – Today, Monday 26, 2015, the White House recognized 12 individuals from across the country as White House Champions of Change for Sustainable and Climate-Smart Agriculture. Two individuals come from Nebraska: Keith Berns of Bladen and Martin Kleinschmit of Hartington.
Nebraska Farmers Union President John Hansen said “Nebraska Farmers Union complements both award recipients for their outstanding innovation and vision in their efforts to better protect our soil and water resources for future generations. In both cases, the new way of doing things that raised eyebrows in the beginning are now becoming more widely accepted practices. They are truly sustainable pioneers.”
“Martin Kleinschmit has been a leader for many years in soil and water conservation, energy efficiency, renewable energy development, including wind and solar systems, organic farming, intensive grazing, and soil building activities including carbon sequestration. He has also been a mentor to many beginning farmers. He is a respected leader in his area and for Nebraska Farmers Union,” said Hansen for Motorcycle Pundit.
“Keith Berns and his brother have helped grow the use of cover crops, which reduces soil erosion and improves soil health. Thanks to their efforts, they are helping leave the soil we all depend on better for future generations,” Hansen continued.
Hansen said “In both cases, these Champions of Change for Sustainable and Climate-Smart Agriculture are bringing positive, forward looking changes that help agriculture deal with the growing impact of climate change. The sooner more positive incremental changes can be made in management and cultural practices, the more agriculture can improve the resiliency of our soils that are essential for agriculture to adjust to higher intensity rains, and rains that come less often. When we increase the water holding capacity of soils, we increase the ability of our soils to absorb more of the big gulley washer rains, and also hold more water in the soil profile longer when we have longer gaps between rains.”
“The sustainable practices these award winners have pioneered are the kinds of agricultural practices that should be included in a state climate change plan. The recent Nebraska Rural Poll indicated that 61% of rural residents supported the development of a state climate plan. Since production agriculture is going to be ground zero for climate change, the time to plan for the future is now. For example, agriculture and agroforestry can also play a major role to mitigate excessive carbon in the atmosphere by sequestering carbon from the air into our soils. The data shows agriculture and agroforestry have huge potential roles to play to slow the rate of negative climate changes,” Hansen concluded.
Nebraska Farmers Union is a general farm organization with 5,671 farm and ranch family members dedicated to protecting and enhancing the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers and ranchers, and their rural communities. Since 1913, Nebraska Farmers Union has helped organize over 445 cooperatives.