Iwate’s Sustainable Farming Cycle

Due to the amount of suitable land for farming being quite limited, farms in Iwate are small and simultaneously grow multiple crops, such as rice, vegetables, and fruits, as well as livestock. This is unlike conventional farming in North America where most farms raise one type of livestock, grow one type of fruit, or grow assorted vegetables. Most farmers in Iwate grow rice for their own consumption, and enough extra to sell. This focus on growing rice became the base for Iwate’s traditional, sustainable farming cycle. In the sustainable farming cycle, nothing goes to waste! After harvesting rice, the leftover straw feeds the cows. To fertilize the other crops and the rice fields for the next year, the farmers use their livestock’s manure. The leftovers from growing one are always used to benefit the others, while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the use of chemicals. This results in high-quality natural produce, as well as healthy livestock, such as Iwate’s famed full-blood wagyu cattle (Iwate-gyu).