Hi I’m Sarah Gardner. It’s a critical element not
only for your lawn or garden, but in making sure that we have enough food to
feed a growing population. Coming up, the challenge in
doing more with less water. We’ll take you to
Washington State where scientists are helping
farmers grow bountiful crops in one of the driest
regions of the country. Georgia farmers
check out options to save water for
future crops. How do you keep
those fairways green on the golf course? In Florida,
it’s all about grass that’s a bit less thirsty. And we’ve all heard about global warming
and climate change. It’s even impacting people who make their living
on the water. It’s all coming up
on America’s Heartland ♪♪>>America’s Heartland is
made possible by…>>CropLife America-
Representing the companies whose modern
farming innovations help America’s farmers
provide nutritious food for communities
around the globe. The Fund for
Agriculture Education – A fund created by
KVIE to support America’s Heartland
programming. Contributors include
the following: ♪♪ You can see it in the eyes
of every woman and man ♪♪ ♪♪ In America’s Heartland,
livin’ close to the land ♪♪ ♪♪ There’s a love
for the country ♪♪ ♪♪ And a pride
in the brand ♪♪ ♪♪ In America’s Heartland ♪♪ ♪♪ Livin’ close…
close to the land ♪♪ ♪♪>>I’m Sarah Gardner. Thanks for joining us
on America’s Heartland. No matter where you live
in the United States, water is an issue-
sometimes it’s too much, as we’ve seen in flooding
along major riverways. But often it’s too little. Significant portions
of the country have seen extended periods of
drought in recent years impacting more than
just farmers and crops. When it doesn’t rain, grass
for cattle doesn’t grow. That means ranchers have to
buy feed for their herds or trim back their
cattle numbers. Those decisions
impact everything from beef prices at
the supermarket to the sale of meat
to customers overseas. Much of the country
depends on produce from California and
Southwest Arizona. But ongoing water
restrictions there have forced growers to reduce the
number of acres in production A lack of water
has a domino effect, ultimately affecting
food prices, even the availability of some
crops we’ve come to enjoy. And there’s a
bigger question. What do the forecasts
of climate change and global warming mean for
agriculture in the future? Rob Stewart says
it’s a question that impacts not only
farmers and ranchers, but even those who make
their living on the water.>>There is a
particular beauty to the orderly arrangement
of crops in the heartland. Rows of corn,
open expanses of wheat, or a green carpet of soybeans
spreading out to the horizon. It’s an agricultural
canvas heavily dependent on sunshine, moisture
and good weather. But questions about
“climate change” go well beyond weather’s
seasonal challenges to agricultural production. A wide range of
scientific studies show that increasing
levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are increasing temperatures
around the world.>>Weather is something that farmers deal with
on a daily basis, but when we look at
the long-term trends of what the impacts
of climate are, we really need to be mindful
of what we can do to mitigate and make sure
that we’re equipped to adapt to climate change.>>Mitigating the effects
of climate change is a priority for California. Studies in the
Golden State point to temperature increases
of nearly 3 percent by 2050 and, perhaps, double that
by the end of the century.>>Thinking about changes
in temperatures. Nighttime temperatures and what does that mean
for our well-known, world renowned wine grape
and wine industry. Thinking about chill hours. Y’know, what’s happening
in the winter time that’s really impacting the
productivity and the quality of our fresh tree fruit
and our citrus.>>California, and
many other states, see rising temperatures affecting more than
just chill hours. Higher temperatures
could mean more droughts, a greater risk of wildfires, even impact water supplies
for hydroelectric power. And California sees
a negative effect on public health
and food security.>>Climate change brings
a lot of risk to this food security component. For example we know that with
the increased CO2 levels, you’re getting
increased temperatures and when you have
increased temperatures, that puts stresses on
our crop production. If you look at
animal agriculture, you get stresses on
the animals which leads to reductions in things
like milk production.>>All of this is critical
to the country’s number one dairy state
and a region that provides a third of the
nation’s vegetables and much of the country’s fresh
fruits and tree nuts. But climate change
will also impact the wide open expanses
of corn, soybean, and wheat fields in the
midwest and plains states- crops critical to both human
and animal food supplies. In these test plots at
the University of Illinois, researchers mimic the
growing conditions that crops will
face in the future. Pipes spray increased
levels of carbon dioxide and ozone into the fields. One result?
A reduction in the nutritional quality
of some grains.>>That’s significant because there are about two billion
people in the world who depend almost entirely
on cereals and grains as their sources
of zinc and iron. But for that fraction
of the population, it could be significant. Wheat is more
of an issue because in addition to reductions
in zinc and iron, you also have a reduction
in protein content.>>Researchers,
here and elsewhere, want to examine how
farmers might change production techniques
to meet the challenge and what the agriculture
industry can do to make crops more resilient
to these changing conditions. Crops aside, a
United Nations science panel says rising temperatures
will also impact food sources from rivers,
lakes and oceans. A group called the
“Island Institute” has been working with fishermen to
examine conditions in Maine.>>Along the coast of Maine,
the communities here are really concerned
about the effects that climate change is having, particularly in
those communities that are really
depending on fisheries. We need to be looking at
managing at scales that respect the way that
the ecosystem functions and how we describe to others the impact that these changes
are having on all of us. This is a time when people
are rolling up their sleeves and trying to sort out what the future looks
like for them and they’re going to
continue to work hard to get the best information
that they can.>>Changing water conditions
may be responsible for an increase in lobster numbers
off the coast of Maine. That’s good news. But increasing water
temperatures have been cited as part of the reason
for a decline in the lobster population in Long
Island Sound to the south. And there’s another
seafood concern. Fisheries off the coasts of
Washington State and Alaska are looking at
ocean acidification. Increasing carbon dioxide, absorbed by the ocean,
is one of several elements changing the
chemistry of seawater. That change affects the
ability of shellfish- lobsters, snow crabs
and others, to form shells
and skeletons.>>As ocean acidification
or environmental changes impact the fisheries, I think we need to
be hyper-sensitive and I see a lot of autopilot
on fisheries management where I think we need
to spend more money on fishery management
to be ahead of the curve, versus behind the curve.>>The question is what do we
expect to see in Alaska and with all of our fisheries,
I would say that the response from the fishermen
has been one of concern. I think they’re aware
that it’s out there. They’re aware that it could negatively impact
their fisheries, but there’s so much
unknown still that a lot of folks have put
their opinions, I think, to the side waiting to see
what we have to show ’em.>>Climate change will
require new resources and adaptations to handle an
expected population growth of more than two billion
people by 2050. Many have already begun
looking ahead- recognizing the need to make critical
changes incrementally.>>You need always to be
looking at long term. There’s no doubt about that because that’s also how
we learned from the past. But I think it’s
especially important that we’re constantly looking
10, 20, 50 years out. It needs time, it needs
cycles, it needs seasons to really come up with the
best solutions for us. ♪♪>>Drought has been a fact of
life throughout history. Some areas of South America went for decades
without significant rain. Drought in the 1930s
produced the Dust Bowl in the American Southwest and ongoing extreme
drought conditions are the norm in some parts
of China and Australia. ♪♪>>Eastern Washington State has long been an important
source of grain crops for both domestic use
and sales overseas. But the expansive
range of wheat fields hides an
existing challenge. The region sometimes gets less than ten inches
of rain a year. So scientists have spent
decades helping farmers grow healthy crops with
very little moisture. ♪♪>>This vast landscape
of grey skies and steady
winds may suggest a place blessed by
abundant rain. But this cloudy June day in Eastern Washington
is misleading. Farmer Ron Jirava, whose family’s been working
this land since 1884, says each season they plant,
and pray, the heavens will provide enough moisture to
sustain their winter wheat.>>It only comes in the
winter, it’s not reliable as far as how much we’re
going to get each winter, but a lot of these crops like
some moisture in the spring, and it’s been known
to stop raining and any kind of precipitation
from February on, makes it kind of difficult.>>With rainfall so scarce, the prospect of a
disappointing harvest and financial distress
has always been part of life for
these dry land farmers. But in 1915,
Washington State University began researching ways
to coax more abundance from this parched
and dusty soil. It created the
Dryland Research Station. Laboratories, machine shops
for new farm inventions, and more than
13-hundred acres of land for experimental planting. ♪♪>>I like being able to think
I’m doing something useful.>>Bill Schillinger
is a scientist, professor and the
director of the station.>>Are we operating
in isolation? In a way, yes,
because no one else has such unique environments. We’re in a winter rainfall
region with dry summers. The circle I work in is, first, let’s keep the
soil from blowing, so we need conservation
soil management.>>Preventing erosion and
conserving precious topsoil does more than help
farmers grow bigger crops.>>Whenever there’s a dust
storm, whenever there’s an exceedance of the federal
air standard, it’s always- always associated
with high wind events and blowing dust from
agricultural fields, and so researchers and
wheat growers fess up. So that’s what we
really want to stop.>>In the past, farmers here
grew only winter wheat, planted in the fall,
harvested in the summer. That meant fields lying bare,
or fallow, often for months. With Dryland Research help,
farmers are trying new crop rotations to
reduce dangerous dust. And they’re assisting
with test plots like these on Ron Jirava’s farm. This, all in addition
to no-till farming, where crop residue
from the last harvest is left on the ground. So this is the original
boot that was on the machine.>>Correct.>>Bruce Sauer, another
station researcher, is modifying this
planting machine to better penetrate the
extra surface debris.>>And hopefully be
able to seed deeper, since we’re gonna
make a better furrow.>>The seed will go in here,
come out here, and you’re hoping
on this prototype that it will be
planted deeper.>>Yeah, correct. I think everybody
needs to have a bottom line
that’s profitable, and you don’t want to
see the ground move. I mean none of us want
to see the ground move because there’s somebody
coming up behind us to take care of it
when we’re done. ♪♪>>Back at the lab,
researchers are planting wheat seedlings
eight inches deep in pots of hard,
compacted soil.>>Right now, the methodology
that we have established, we’re very confident
is very close to what farmers experience when
they’re seeding in the field.>>Researcher Steve Schofstoll
has learned that even with much-needed rain,
timing is important. Coming at the wrong time,
the rain can adversely affect seedlings
approaching the surface.>>If a rain comes and rains
on top of the soil surface, it can create a soil crusting,
which makes it difficult for the seedlings to emerge
through that crust. It’ll continue to grow but it can’t break
through that crust. So what happens is it kind
of accordions like this, and after a while,
it’ll just die. Wheat is nearly a one
billion-dollar industry in Washington its
third biggest crop behind apples and
dairy products. And up to 90-percent of
Washington wheat growers are completely
dependent on rainfall. For Bill and his team,
it’s a big responsibility- improving crops
and air quality. But the payoff is work that not only sustains
vital production, but ultimately
keeps prices down on a vast array of
consumer products.>>It sounds corny,
but I really am passionate about my job, and it’s great to get paid to
do what I’m passionate about. We work with progressive
farmers who feel the same way and are leading the pack, and that’s how we’re
gonna make it happen. ♪♪>>In an average year,
American farmers raise more than two billion
bushels of wheat. The grain is grown in
42 states across the country on nearly 63 million
acres of land. Wheat is critical
as a food resource. One bushel of wheat
can make more than 75 one-pound loaves of bread. And did you know
that more food is made from wheat than
any other cereal grain? You’ll find wheat in
breakfast cereals, pasta, pizza, tortillas and other
foods that depend on flour, like your birthday cake! ♪♪>>Having enough moisture
to guarantee a crop is important when
you’re planning on tomatoes or zucchini from
your backyard garden. It’s even more important
when you’re looking at a field with a
thousand acres of corn. Our Jason Shoultz takes us
to Georgia where farmers and researchers are
working together to help mother nature use
every drop efficiently. ♪♪>>Without water, without
proper timing of water, without our ability to
use it, we couldn’t exist.>>For Glenn Cox,
water is life. Or, at least, crucial
to his livelihood. This fifth-generation
farmer grows sweet corn, field corn and peanuts on more than a thousand acres
in Southwest Georgia. And season after season, Cox is at the mercy
of the weather… and the uncertain supply of
this life-giving liquid.>>And crops like this sweet
corn are totally dependent on critical water at
the critical time. ♪♪>>But getting water
when they need it is an ongoing challenge
for Georgia farmers. The region’s been
subjected to both flooding and drought
in recent years. In addition, Georgia
has been locked into a decades long “water war”
with Florida and Alabama. The two states
have gone to court, and involved federal
officials and Congress in a dispute over access
to water from places like the Chattahoochee
Flint River Basin. That water forms the
Apalachicola River in Florida and also flows into Alabama
to help irrigate crops, generate power and protect
freshwater ecosystems like Apalachicola Bay
off of the Florida coast. ♪♪>>Without water,
there’s really not much agriculture here. Certainly it may be more
important than even oil in our part of the world. ♪♪>>Now, science and
conservation efforts have come to play a role in affecting water supplies
for the region. The goal is to use technology
to grow more and use less. At the University
of Georgia’s Stripling Irrigation
Research Park, researchers are
working with experts from the Department
of Agriculture and even the Nature Conservancy. 130 acres packed with a
thousand test plots, from peanuts to pecans,
soybeans to sweet corn.>>We call it variable
rate irrigation, and it was developed to
allow our farmers to do a better job of applying
their irrigation water. In essence, it makes it much
more precise than earlier.>>Here’s how it works-
Statewide, Georgia farmers use about 15-thousand of
these center pivot sprayers- huge metallic structures
that roll slowly across entire fields spraying
massive amounts of water. A lot is wasted, but now
a new computerized system senses moisture
levels in the soil to see which areas
need more or less water, and adjusts the
volume accordingly. The result? A significant
reduction in water used.>>In Georgia,
there are approximately 15-thousand center pivots,
so if we equipped maybe just two thirds of those, let’s
say, with a system like this, we could save billions of
gallons of water a year.>>But saving water
is not cheap. Some of the largest
of these new systems can cost farmers more than
20-thousand dollars each, though there are
federal programs to help offset
that hefty price tag. And this is only one of
many ways science is seeking ways to save
this precious resource. Drip irrigation, watering
crops beneath the soil and developing crops that need
less water to begin with. It’s a cooperative effort- scientists, and those
who work the soil, making changes for the
present and the future.>>Water is critical.
Wasting water is foolish. We have to be
stewards of this land, and being a steward means we
have to manage it properly. [sound of turning
sprinkler head]>>Water is a critical
agricultural issue in many parts of the world, not only for livestock,
but growing crops as well. It takes more than
110 gallons of water to grow a pound of corn, 65 gallons to grow a
pound of potatoes and hundreds of gallons to plant
and raise a pound of rice. [sound of flowing water]>>Just how good your
front lawn looks may be the closest you’ll come
to concerns about water. But what about large
expanses of grass? Say a park or a golf course?
Turf science is a multi-million dollar
business in the U.S. and a major agricultural
product in many states. Jason Shoultz says for
some growers in Florida that means new types of grass to face the challenge
of drought and disease. ♪♪>>A perfectly manicured
golf course. ♪♪ Perhaps the location where the most respect
is paid… to grass. [sound of running motor] But leave the course,
and look around. Weeds, dry spots,
muddy messes… No respect. You quickly discover
that turf grass is, well, something we don’t
think about very much. Heck, it gets walked
over its entire life. And according to Jason Kruse,
we should be paying a lot more attention to
the stuff under our feet.>>Take another look at it,
don’t take it for granted.>>Kruse is a professor
of all things grass at the University of Florida. Why study grass? It’s a hundred million
dollar crop in this state – impacting 90 thousand jobs.>>There’s something about
walking around barefoot in a manicured lawn. And just enjoying, y’know,
the birds, and the trees and everything going on around
you and kind of letting the rest of the world
fade away for a little bit.>>Admittedly I am guilty too
of not giving grass its due. I needed more convincing. So on a Saturday afternoon
when 90,000 people are watching the players out
on the field, you are not.>>No, no.>>Professor Kruse wanted
to convince me more of the importance of grass
by bringing me here, to this place known
as “the swamp.” It’s where the Florida
Gators football team beats up on their
opponents every fall. While the offensive line
might inflict pain, the professor says
the playing surface is critical to
preventing injury.>>There’s a lot of concern, or increased concern with
things like concussions and if the surface is
too hard that’s going to translate more energy
back to the athlete’s head and potentially
end up in concussions.>>The researchers here
actually test the hardness of the grass with
special instruments! The university switched to artificial turf
a few years back, but ended up switching
back to natural grass turf.>>The drawback often
with synthetic fields, there’s a temperature issue. The surfaces have
reached temperatures of 170 – 200 degrees.>>Going the “natural” route is good news for
Keith Truenow. His turf grass farm is
located just down the road from the university. ♪♪>>Well we’re rolling up some
Celebration Bermuda Grass for a sports field
in Orlando. And it’s a football field. And it’s a really
good grass. It’s a very aggressive
growing grass. It does well for
traffic and wear.>>The turf grass industry really took off
during the housing boom. And when the
market collapsed, especially here in Florida, farmers like Truenow
were hit hard.>>When the housing
environment stopped, people didn’t need grass. So the supply and demand
was way off kilter.>>Truenow says
he sees the demand picking up slightly. But what about water
conservation?>>We have things like soil
moisture sensors that can be included or incorporated
into an irrigation system that would allow the
irrigation system to irrigate the plant community
when it needs it.>>Researchers are also
working on new grasses that need less water
and fertilizer.>>One may have better
shade tolerance, one may have better disease
tolerance and if shade is your major problem then
you want that specific grass. If you live in an area
where insects or diseases are the primary problems
then you want a grass that potentially tolerates
those pest problems.>>Still want to disrespect
this agricultural commodity? Well think about this. Grass filters water that
comes off of your driveway and removes pollutants
from water in the soil.>>And turf grass systems have a great cooling
effect on our environment. The area of turf that’s roughly the size
of a football field has a cooling effect of a
70 ton air conditioner.>>So Kevin, it’s not very
many research facilities that have their own
putting course.>>No, there’s not.>>But it’s a
fitting addition to a farm focused
on grass research. After all,
many graduates here will end up maintaining
landscapes at golf courses.>>Turf grass management would
be the goal of the students coming out of the
turf grass science program at the University of Florida.>>Nice shot.>>Well thank you.>>We’re just about out
of time, but before we go, remember you can
always find videos from all of our shows
and a whole lot more. It’s at our website,
AmericasHeartland.org And you can connect with
us on Facebook, Twitter or spend some time on our
YouTube channel as well. Thanks for being with us. We’ll look for you next time
on America’s Heartland. ♪♪>>You can purchase a DVD or
Blu-ray copy of this program. Here’s the cost: To order, just visit us
online or call 888-814-3923 ♪♪ ♪♪ You can see it in the eyes
of every woman and man ♪♪ ♪♪ In America’s Heartland,
livin’ close to the land ♪♪ ♪♪ There’s a love
for the country ♪♪ ♪♪ And a pride
in the brand ♪♪ ♪♪ In America’s Heartland ♪♪ ♪♪ Livin’ close…
close to the land ♪♪>>America’s Heartland is
made possible by…>>CropLife America-
Representing the companies whose modern
farming innovations help America’s farmers
provide nutritious food for communities
around the globe. ♪♪ The Fund for
Agriculture Education – A fund created by KVIE
to support America’s Heartland
programming. Contributors include
the following: