More than 70% of U.S. farmers and ranchers have taken steps toward implementing sustainable agriculture practices, Rabobank says.

According to the Rabobank Farm & Ranch Survey, three of every four U.S. farmers are aware of sustainable practices, and most have used direct or no-till seeding, minimized chemical use or employed crop rotation. Other findings include:

In the North Central and South regions, higher-revenue farms (more than $1 million annually) have taken steps toward sustainable agriculture (North Central: 89% vs. 67% of lower-revenue farms; South: 97% vs. 65% lower-revenue farms).

The opposite is true in the West. More lower-revenue farms have moved toward sustainable agriculture (74% vs. 51% for farms with revenues exceeding $1 million).

Direct seeding is more prevalent in the South and North Central (64% and 61%, respectively, vs. 44% in the West). It’s also more prevalent among large acreage farms (75% for 1,000 acres or more vs. 52% for less than 1,000 acres).

Reduction of energy use is more prevalent in the West (45%) compared to North Central (29%).

An independent firm conducted the telephone surveys on Feb. 2-11. It targeted farmers who own or operate a farm grossing $250,000 or more in one of three U.S. census regions: Midwest, South and West. A baseline survey conducted but not released in 2008 was used as comparison for this survey.