Nebraska Farmer Testifies On Capitol Hill
May 21, 2019
WASHINGTON – Matt Rezac, a fourth-generation corn and soybean farmer from Weston, Nebraska, said today in testimony to the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee that farmers’ commitment to future generations, paired with their willingness to embrace new technology, positions them to lead on climate solutions. Rezac was invited to testify as part of the Committee’s hearing titled “Climate change and the agriculture sector.”
“When we talk about stewardship of the land, and doing what’s right for the land, there’s no one better than the American farmer,” Rezac said in his testimony. “In Nebraska and across the nation, farmers are constantly seeking ways to safeguard natural resources while also strengthening their business. As we continue to embrace innovation and technology in these conservation efforts, farmers can make a real difference in providing climate solutions.”
Rezac said that like many farmers, environmental stewardship is already core to his farm management, noting some of his 2,500 acres of corn and soybeans have been in the family for nearly 140 years. He named three core strategies to help farmers unlock even greater environmental and economic results in the coming years.
First, he said, farmers and their ag retailers must continually deploy the latest technology through “precision conservation.”
“On our farm we use variable rate fertilizer, moisture probes in the soil to manage water, and we are extremely precise about our nutrient management, making adjustments in-season,” said Rezac. “In addition, with precision conservation tools like Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN’s Truterra Insights Engine and help from our ag retail advisors at Frontier Cooperative, we’re able to highlight the financial opportunities for different field management systems. Technology is critical, and the future of agricultural conservation is precision.”
Second, enhanced collaboration between the public and private sectors will help farmers achieve more, with federal agencies like USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service working even more closely alongside local ag retailers.
“My stewardship journey is a one of relationships and collaboration. We could not have accomplished what we did on my farm without my District Conservationist and my local NRCS office that has worked with me to tailor conservation solutions to my own farm,” Rezac said. “Unfortunately, my local NRCS office is overworked, and truthfully, overwhelmed. To fill some of that void, I turned to my local co-op, Frontier Cooperative. Frontier has been a leader in sustainability, and they joined the Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN program when it launched in 2016. Frontier embraced bringing agronomists out to the farm, educating farmers about being more efficient.”
The result, he said, has been a stronger capacity to use analytics and data to focus and target conservation practices on the farm.
Third, Rezac reinforced that economics and environmental stewardship can, and must, go hand-in-hand as farmers strive to deliver climate solutions.
“In today’s farm economy, we aren’t farming to rake in a profit. We’re not making money, and we’re farming to lose as little as possible. I’m speaking to you as a fourth-generation family farmer whose top priority is to make sure my farm is healthy and strong when my sons Jacob and Chase are grown up,” he said. “I know focusing on environmental stewardship also makes economic sense, when it’s done right.
Rezac thanked members of the Senate Agriculture Committee for focusing on how farmers can deliver climate solutions, while keeping their farms environmentally strong and economically healthy for future generations.
“With the right policy and the right incentives, farmers can keep improving across the board. We can produce an abundant food supply, safeguard resources for the future, maintain our businesses, and lead the way on climate solutions,” said Rezac.
Rezac Farms is a member of Land O’Lakes, Inc., America’s third-largest farmer-owned cooperative, and Rezac received the 2017 Outstanding Sustainability Award from Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN – a business launched by Land O’Lakes to support farmer-led, farmer-driven stewardship solutions. Rezac has also worked alongside Frontier Cooperative to bolster his on-farm stewardship efforts using the Truterra™ Insights Engine from Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN, an interactive, on-farm digital platform launched in 2018 to help farmers advance their stewardship goals and optimize their return-on-investment in real time, acre-by-acre.
A full copy of Matt Rezac’s testimony is available here, courtesy of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry.