From the moment that farmers select seeds to plant, their goal remains to get as much of their crop to harvest as possible. What’s more, they need to make sure their produce is hearty enough and stored correctly to make it all the way to your plate.
As Kacie Luckett, a farmer in Louisiana, shares, “Our goal is to provide high quality food for our family and community. To accomplish this, we spend time planning, scheduling and preparing to prevent food loss before it happens. If we waste food on the farm, we are also squandering time, energy and money.”
Strategies to reduce food loss starting on the farm include: picking the best seeds for the climate, planting seeds at the appropriate time of year, constantly monitoring for pests and treating problems with the right crop protection product as appropriate, picking produce at the correct ripeness, and storing food at the right temperature once harvested. Many farmers also manage weeds in dormant fields and use plastic mulch film to prevent weeds and diseases.
Luckett shares that, among many practices, “we prevent food waste at the farm by daily surveying and detecting problems in the fields. If we see a pest problem, then we can treat it accordingly, before it causes too much damage to a crop.”
She adds that on her farm, “We offer a CSA (community supported agriculture program); sell at three local farmers markets; sell to an online grocery store, wholesalers, and restaurants; and donate to the local food banks. Utilizing multiple avenues is helpful because we can combat food waste by moving the produce that we have.”
Through crop loss reduction, staging produce and other practices, farmers like Luckett are helping reduce food loss around the world.
Whitney Bailer, Communications Manager, CropLife America, [email protected]