Helping St. Joseph County residents improve their natural resources through conservation and education.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all events are cancelled.
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St. Joseph County SWCD
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WHAT PEOPLE SAY
"Several years ago we sat down with our local NRCS agent and looked at various conservation practices and programs available. The initial assessment lead me to realize we were not ready to implement some of the changes that a conservation program is designed to help with because of unique challenges in our crop rotation. After another growing season, we had the opportunity to participate in a small cover crop trial on 100 acres that was funded by the SWCD. That fall seeded cover crop taught me a lot. In the spring, we terminated it and then tilled it under. I happened to run the first tillage pass through that cover crop late one night and was absolutely amazed at what I saw. This was heavy clay soil. It was not forgiving and the slightest bit of moisture meant it would slab. What I saw that night was very friable soil, breaking up and loosely laying back down. The addition of a cover crop made this ground work down in two passes- in a normal year, it would have been four passes. After that, I was sold on cover crops. When we reviewed the NRCS EQIP programs again, we were ready to implement cover crops, a more comprehensive nutrient management plan, irrigation management, and it opened the door for no-till. One of the benefits for us in the water management has been the irrigation tracking. Being able to look at our spreadsheet and evaluate how often we are running pivots and how much we are putting down is helpful. Having the spreadsheet has helped with communication of field activities with employees as well. The nutrient management plan has added a layer of oversight to our fertility program that allows us to go back and catch any shortfalls with continued monitoring. Since no-till alone is a very long term program with some short term challenges, it didn't make sense without the help of EQIP. While some parts of our EQIP plan did not go as planned, I really appreciate the flexibility to work with our NRCS office to determine the best options and move forward."
— Gordon Millar, Owner Red Hen Turf Farm
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