Growing Green Popcorn

Norm in fieldCinemas Green movement extends also to popcorn-farming which, as implied, is easier on the environment. Norm Krug, of Nebraska-based Preferred Popcorn, outlines some of the behind- the-scenes benefits of ‘no-til’ farming, making popcorn derived from it the responsible choice for exhibitors.

While our popcorn is not organic, it is naturally produced with minimal tillage, and there are many Green advantages in minimizing tillage - or even in eliminating it altogether. The good news is that there are no losers. The environment benefits first by leaving organic matter undisturbed, and the farmer wins through lower production costs and a healthy natural plant that produces high quality, great-tasting popcorn. Minimum tillage also means reduced:

  • soil erosion
  • water erosion (and better moisture conservation since the soil isn’t dried out)
  • carbon release into the atmosphere fuel usage and farmer, fuel and labor costs due to fewer trips back-and-forth across the field
  • The natural usage of old plants as mulch, and healthy natural plants that perform well by growing right in last year’s root zone.

‘NO TIL’ Adaptation
Primary adaptation includes higher spring tension on each row unit, forcing the planter into hard ground, and a furrow-opener that pushes the organic matter aside, clearing a path for a smooth seed-bed.

Green Farming
During normal tillage, soil becomes churned, releasing carbon into the atmosphere; but by planting directly into the previous year’s seed-bed, farmers leave soil undisturbed, offering many farmer- environment benefits.

Preferred Practices
Additionally, [America’s] producers will be ‘acting Green’ by planting all non-GMO* popcorn seeds, as is the case with all Preferred Popcorn seeds. Preferred Popcorn also en- courages its farmer-owned group to use other best management practices such as crop-rotation, soil- and water-testing and mini- mal use of fertilizers. All Preferred Popcorn production remains under the close scrutiny of professional agronomists who scout the fields weekly making recommendations to producers.

The best management practices do not end when the popcorn is produced, however, and Preferred Popcorn places itself under a third- party audit by the American Institute of Bakers which carefully evaluates food safety from the times at which seed is planted, produced, proc- essed, packaged and delivered to consumers.

*GMO = Genetically-Modified Organism

Download Article