Soil & WaterI recently read an article in Erosion Control magazine, the journal for erosion and sediment control professionals and conservation nerds like me, that it is easier to go to the moon than to raise corn!  According to Jerry Hatfield at the USDA Agricultural Research Service National Laboratory in Ames, IA “Farming is not rocket science.  All you need to know for rocket science is payload, force of gravity and how much thrust.  By comparison, farming is much more complex.  You need several equations to optimize a production system that doesn’t have an engineering solution since there are no constants in farming.”

We are putting increasing demands on farmers to feed an ever growing population while at the same time blaming agriculture as a primary source of watershed contamination.  But asking farmers to be good stewards of the land because “it is the right thing to do” is an idealistic concept and not always practical or realistic.  We are asking farmers to employ creative and often expensive methods to improve soil health and water quality without compensating them for their efforts.  Farming is a business and needs to make a profit just like any other business.

Marshall County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) has Clean Water Indiana funds available to help local producers implement the four components of the Conservation Cropping System to improve soil health and improve water quality: cover crops, nutrient management, no-till and filter strips.  Hopefully assistance like this can help farmers improve soil health and water quality while improving their bottom line.

For more information, please call the SWCD office at 574-936-2024 x 3.
By Debbie Palmer