There’s a lot of talk today about “sustainability.”
At Valley Irrigation, we’ve been dedicated to environmental responsibility since before it was a trend. That’s because we listen to our growers, and what’s important to them is important to us. We don’t need to educate farmers about being green – it’s in their DNA. They take care of the land, keeping it pristine for future generations because their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents did before them. Because it’s the right thing to do.
On a company level, sustainability is best defined as helping our growers produce greater yields with fewer resources. Valley Irrigation is not only committed to that ideal, we are actively redefining the possibilities.
Acting Locally – And Globally
The opportunity has never been greater, because the need will only increase. In 30 years, the world population will increase from 7.6 billion to 9.8 billion. Like the national debt or the distance to the sun, numbers that big tend to lose meaning sometimes. So let’s break them down this way:
Americans consume 110 pounds of potatoes per person per year. (Europeans consume almost twice that.) The average American potato farm produces 42,000 pounds of potatoes per acre. Each acre meets the needs for potatoes of 388 people. That’s already a lot, but we can do even better.
And we need to do better, because the population is not only growing rapidly, agricultural land is vanishing at an alarming rate. Land is being converted to other forms of development, including urban sprawl, at the rate of 175 acres an hour, or 3 acres every single minute, according to the American Farmland Trust.
So the amount of land needed to produce 126,000 pounds of potatoes is disappearing every minute. That’s why we must do better.
Growing More with Less
The connected crop management technology we’re developing to make agriculture smarter also makes the world better – and is evolving from reactive to predictive.
Data is the first step. Leveraging that data is the next step. Once you know the soil moisture content, for example, and join that with automatically updated weather data, you know where, when and how much to irrigate for optimal crop development. With Valley Scheduling™ and Variable Rate Irrigation, growers can apply water precisely – limiting waste, maximizing water and energy efficiency, and increasing profits.
Valley Scheduling reduces irrigation water and electrical use an average of 10% on average by helping growers irrigate exactly the right amount at precisely the right time. It also:
- Reduces crop stress and need for treatments
- Can improve bio-matter yield as much as 20%
- Reduces risk of groundwater impacts
Committed to Sustainability
Of course, in some parts of the world, agriculture has a bad reputation – usually because growing food and fiber takes water. Of course, growing food and fiber takes water. Growing food for 9.8 billion people will take water! What Valley does is help it take as little as possible.
One place our solutions recently accomplished that was on a farm near El Paso, Texas. Valley remote management and integrated pump control devices for 52 irrigation machines led to confirmed water reduction of 6.5 million gallons per field per year, compared to other fields without Valley solutions. This is equal to the fresh water usage of 3,700 homes!
We also recently expanded our product offerings to include solutions in the photovoltaic energy (converting light into electricity) sector for agribusiness. This allows us to provide not only the most durable and advanced pivots available, but also a sustainable, low-cost energy source to supply power to them: Valmont Solar™ Solutions.
Bottom line: sustainability is really just the old-fashioned idea of stewardship, which is “the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one's care.” That can mean anything from preserving the earth’s resources or managing a corporation responsibly, down to being smart with a dollar or performing your daily work with integrity.
These are not radical ideas; they’re variations on what we’ve been doing from our beginning. Giving back. Taking care of the land. Helping farmers grow crops better.
But now the sustainability movement has global momentum. Join Valley – the leader in sustainable irrigation technology – as we continue to transform agriculture. Then contact your local Valley Dealer to learn more about how our solutions can help maximize your operation’s sustainability and profitability.