Agriculture Industry | P2

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Agriculture Industry | P2

Agriculture and Economy

The agriculture and farming industry is an important contributor to rural Arizona’s economy, accounting for over $17 billion to the state’s output and retention of over 80,000 jobs. However, this industry places some of the highest demands on the environment’s natural resources, such as water and soil. As the population grows and more food is required, proper management of these resources will become increasingly critical. P2 measures enable both a reduction of environmental impacts in the sector, as well as cost savings to the producer.

Prevention of Surface and Groundwater Contamination

Applying excess nutrients to soil can result in unnecessary costs and potential surface and groundwater pollution. This can be prevented through regular soil sampling to gauge soil fertility levels and enable cost-efficient, sustainable decision making.

Proper soil nutrient levels can be maintained by applying nutrients in accordance with the result of each soil test, which leads to increased crop yield, reduced production costs through less waste and prevention of surface and groundwater pollution at the source.

The National Resources Conservation Services (NRCS), under the U.S. Department of Agriculture, provides a comprehensive P2 for the Agriculture Industry Nutrient Management Plan, with detailed steps on the soil sampling process including ways to analyze and make decisions based on findings, individualized to all 50 states. This enables managers to efficiently utilize nutrients at the inception of use, thereby eliminating the need to remediate excess nutrient runoffs | Learn More >

Reduce Nonpoint Source Pollution

Agricultural nonpoint source pollution has proven to be the leading source of water quality impacts on tested rivers and streams, and significantly impacts various other groundwater streams | Learn More >

Nonpoint source pollution is an indirect form of water contamination. It occurs via rainfall or snow melt that carries pollutants from the source, over and through the ground and deposits them in waterways. The contaminants in the runoff accrue over time, eventually depositing into lakes, rivers, wetlands and other water sources | Learn More >

What can you do to reduce or stop nonpoint source pollution? | Learn More >

  • Proper disposal of oil and chemicals that are used on site.
  • Water quality assurance in regards to interaction with livestock. One of the best ways to do this is to block livestock animals from directly accessing streams, rivers and other water bodies.
  • Reduction of sediment run-off from fields.
  • Reduction of nutrient and fertilizer run-off from fields.
  • Promulgation of riparian corridors (buffer zones between land and stream).

Reduce GHG Emissions through Proper Manure Application

The three main greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the agriculture sector are methane, nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide. Livestock manure accounts for the majority of methane and nitrous oxide emissions. However, manure is a very valuable resource, nutrient-rich and an excellent soil amendment to bolster quality, tilth, and productivity, thereby reducing the need for additional soil fertilizers.

Proper processing of manure prior to land application can significantly reduce GHG emissions. Digesting and/or composting manure are preferred first steps in manure management systems, with the resultant methane gas captured and potentially used as a fuel source. The EPA and National Center for Biotechnology Information provide ample information on the correlation between manure management and resultant GHG emissions | Learn More >

Over-application of manure could result in increased non-point source pollution, extreme care should be taken when applying any type of manure (solid, liquid, slurry).