Potato Grower

April 2022

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14 POTATO GROWER | APRIL 2022 Kasey Bryant Bamberger is not the first person who comes to mind when most people think of the term "farmer." In a world of ball caps and faded jeans, she's more likely to be seen out in the fields wearing a striped sundress with bright purple work boots. Yet Bamberger, the only one of four sisters involved in her family's third-generation farm, is as passionate as it gets as she tackles the biggest job on earth, helping pro- duce enough food for a rapidly growing world population. "I grew up around agriculture, but during that time, it wasn't very common to have women returning to the farm," says Bamberger, whose farms span six counties in southwest Ohio. "Farming keeps you on your toes. We're faced with many variables that are out of our control. In my eight years here, we've received a different weather pattern every single year." The effects of climate change are impacting farmers like Bamberger across the U.S. Extremes such as droughts, floods, and strong winds are becoming more common. "Every year, we go into the growing season with a plan," says Bamberger, whose family manages 20,000 acres of corn, soybeans and soft red winter wheat. "But we're fully aware Mother Nature might have a different one." Bamberger says that requires a lot of data-driven decisions and experience: "Our springs have become a lot shorter and harder to manage because of heavy rainfalls," she says. "The planting window has become narrower, requiring more equipment and more people to do the work in a shorter time frame." MORE THAN A FARMER These days, farmers are much more than just farmers. They're agronomists, meteorologists, soil experts and so much more. They must balance the effects of a changing climate and the demands of a changing world. They're the original stewards of the land, and their livelihood is inextricably linked to a healthy environment. "Taking care of the environment, taking care of the soil is hands-down the most important thing to us as an operation and to every American grower," says Bamberger. "Every grower around the globe will utter the same sentiment, because this is our livelihood." The idea of healthy soil is not new in farming, but it's the driving force behind today's carbon craze. Scientists and thought leaders believe farmers, particularly those implementing carbon farming practices. are in a unique position to be part of the solution to a warming climate. THE NEWEST CROP Carbon farming may help tackle climate change while making farms more profitable. K Story and images courtesy BASF

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