Since 2018, much of Isbell Farm’s energy use is being generated through their on-farm solar project. This 300KWH solar farm provides power for irrigation, grain drying, farm-shops and residences. When all of the generated energy is not in use by Isbell Farms, the power is transferred to the local power grid through net metering.
Isbell Farms also uses computerized natural air grain drying technology that uses active feedback from sensors within our grain bins to limit aeration to times when it is most energy efficient. This allows us to reach consistent moisture throughout our grain storage, leading to significant energy use reductions and grain quality improvement.
The irrigation system on Isbell farms is not only designed to reduce water consumption reduce water consumption, but also to reduce energy use. The irrigation system on Isbell Farms is virtually 100% electric, leading to more efficient pumping of water with priority given to higher gallon-per-minute options when available. We are also connected to a network hosted by our electrical co-op that allows the co-op to temporarily stop our irrigation pumps during peak demand. This system leads not only to greater efficiency of electrical use on our farm, but throughout the entire regional electrical grid.
Isbell Farms employs No-Till techniques whenever possible. This limits the number of tractor passes across a field, not only benefiting air, water, and soil quality by minimizing compaction and erosion, but also by reducing fuel consumption. Isbell Farms also uses Tier 4 (link) engines with fuel-saving transmission in all of its harvesters and tractors that complete the bulk of field operations on the farm, reducing both fuel use and emissions.
Collaboration and Sustainability
At its core, sustainability is about collaboration. From the seed companies that produce more robust and energy efficiency varieties, to academic researchers and other farmers who develop new knowledge and techniques, to equipment companies that continually move toward greater efficiencies, we believe that it is the integration of all of these components that make higher levels of sustainability possible. To that end, we collaborate with others at every opportunity as together we seek to continually evolve agriculture to the next level.
More About our Commitment to Sustainability
Isbell Farms is a member of Nature’s Stewards, an alliance of like-minded farmers focusing on innovative methods of creating ecological benefits through agricultural practices.
We are also collaborators on a Conservation Innovation Grant from the USDA that seeks to broaden the adoption of methane mitigation techniques through market based incentives and a Conservation Innovation Grant researching the beneficial use of algae in no-till, low water use rice production. We participate in the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service’s Environmental Quality Initiatives Programs and the Conservation Stewardship Program.
Mark Isbell is a board member at Field to Market and sits on the USA Rice Sustainability Committee, where he co-chairs a work-group focused on relationships with organization’s sustainability initiatives. He has delivered presentations at conferences for farmers within the rice industry as well as those within the environmental community. Mark was also a crop irrigation work group member during the recent update of the Arkansas Water Plan.