Without agriculture, Culver’s wouldn’t be able to serve our guests. It’s not just the beef for our ButterBurgers or dairy for our Fresh Frozen Custard for which we rely on farmers, it’s also the energy to power our restaurants and even the fibers in our signature blue uniforms that agriculture provides.
That’s why we’re supporting the future of agriculture by joining the Decade of Ag movement launched by U.S. Farmers and Ranchers in Action (USFRA). The movement brings together people and organizations from the food and agriculture industries around a shared vision for a climate-smart agricultural system that produces abundant and nutritious food, natural fiber and clean energy for a sustainable, vibrant and prosperous America.
Our vice president of marketing, Julie Fussner, has joined USFRA’s board of directors, and in 2021 we worked with PepsiCo© to sponsor the Honor the Harvest Forum. The Forum brought together leaders to create a common vision and deploy action networks to design solutions to help the food and ag sector reach the vision.
Through the Decade of Ag, we’ve gotten to know farmers like Joan Ruskamp. Joan and her husband, Steve, raise cattle on their farm in Dodge, Nebraska. We spoke to Joan about how farming can help build a more sustainable future.
Q: What do you wish more people understood about farming?
A: Some people think we need to limit agriculture to fight climate change, but agriculture can have a positive impact on the climate. We don’t want to limit agriculture — we need so many products that it produces. Instead, we can find ways that agriculture can lead the way in sustainable practices.
Q: What are some sustainable practices that you use on your farm?
A: There are many ways that we’re trying to be more sustainable on the farm. We use a holding pond to collect rainwater that is used to irrigate our crops. The water has natural nutrients in it and collecting it prevents runoff. When we grow corn, we use the whole plant. The stalks and husks aren’t thrown away; instead, they’re used to create roughage that our cattle eat. After the growing season is over for corn, we plant a cover crop in the fields. Not only does this ensure carbon is pulled from the air into the soil, but it also helps hold the soil in place on rainy days.
Q: What opportunities exist in the agriculture industry to help create a sustainable future?
A: Technology is a huge opportunity in the agriculture industry. In the past, agricultural technology was driven by the desire to do work faster. Now that we have the technology required to work efficiently, we can focus on working better — figuring out how to do a job with less energy or less impact on the environment.
Q: Why did you join the Decade of Ag movement?
A: Farmers make sure that you have food to eat, fuel to use and clothing to wear. We don’t just want to make sure you have those things today; we want to make sure that even your future grandkids have them. We believe you reap what you sow. It’s up to us to make sure we’re setting everyone up for a successful future. By bringing together people from around the industry, the Decade of Ag movement is multiplying the efforts that each of us can make individually.
Like Joan, Culver’s has a heart for advocating for the positive impact that agriculture can have on the world. To learn more about how we’re ensuring a sustainable future and supporting the next generation of agricultural leaders, check out our Thank You Farmers Project.