December 8, 2022
An environmental documentary, titled Sustaining Our Future: A Farm Family Story, was released in December by Illinois Farm Bureau and others in the agricultural research community. The hourlong film centers on the Ganschow family in Bureau County, Illinois, how three generations of farmers have approached sustainability. It also highlights the role of scientific research in the process and includes perspectives from Louisiana Farm Bureau on the hypoxic zone in the Gulf of Mexico.
“Farmers throughout Illinois go to great lengths to preserve our soil and protect water quality,” the organization said. “In 2022, IFB staff wanted to go to those same great lengths to produce a video that showcases these efforts, the farmer spirit and the collaboration required to achieve the goals of the NLRS [Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy].”
The NLRS is a guide for wastewater treatment and for urban and agriculture stakeholders to reduce the loss of nitrate-nitrogen by 15 percent and total phosphorus by 25 percent into Illinois waterways by 2025. The eventual target is a 45 percent reduction in the loss of these nutrients to the Mississippi River and Gulf of Mexico.
Illinois Farm Bureau’s video and environmental teams partnered with farmers, county Farm Bureaus, researchers, and other key stakeholders to film the documentary over the course of a year. Dozens of interviews and archival footage show the long-term commitment and continuous improvement involved in conservation.
During filming, Jim Ganschow unexpectedly passed away. Illinois Farm Bureau dedicated the documentary in his memory in respect and honor of the values and demeanor he lived by and the legacy he left behind.