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Conservation

Quantifying Water Quality Benefits of Conservation Practices

Although we know that farm conservation practices, like cover crops, reduced tillage and nutrient management, as well as improve overall performance and environmental outcomes, it’s difficult to say exactly how these practices affect resources, such as water quality. We can say that the water coming off of a field with conservation practices might “look cleaner,” but what does this really mean in terms of nitrogen, phosphorous, and sediment? These challenges can make it difficult for producers to decide which practices to implement, because there’s no way to determine which are the most effective at improving their soil health or reducing their environmental impact. There’s an element of risk as well, because it’s difficult to predict how new conservation practices might affect yield.

Sustaining the Forests of the Mississippi Headwaters

The headwaters of the mighty Mississippi River flow through Camp Ripley, a military facility that serves as the National Guard training center for Minnesota and six surrounding states. Straddling 50 miles of the Mississippi River, the area also includes the watersheds of four major tributary rivers, making it one of Minnesota’s most important sources of drinking water. Its 45,000 acres of open water support many fish, animal, and bird species, as well as recreational opportunities for residents, tourists, and outdoor enthusiasts.

The Rancher in the Rye

Buying more land isn’t always an option. But often, you can make your existing land go much further. By removing invasive weeds, seeding rye grass and adopting rotational grazing, Oregon rancher Jeff Baxter was able to produce a whole lot more on the same number of acres.

Harvey was Strong, Texas is Stronger

No one knew when Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas on August 25 as a Category 4 hurricane that it would be one of the most devastating hurricanes to make landfall in the United States. Texans along the Gulf Coast saw cities demolished, peak wind gusts as high as 130 mph, unprecedented rainfall of more than 50 inches that caused catastrophic flooding in areas, the death of 88 Texans, displacement of thousands of residents and more than $200 million dollars in agricultural losses.

Saving Money, Time and Soil: The Economics of No-Till Farming

For farmers across the country, it comes as no surprise to hear that conservation tillage practices – particularly continuous no-till – can save time and money compared to conventional tillage. The potential benefits of no-till are well-documented, from improving soil health to reducing annual fuel and labor investments.

Talking Turkey: Forest Service and National Wild Turkey Federation Bringing Back Native Turkey Habitats

Did you know that the wild turkey nearly triumphed over the bald eagle as the symbol of America? Yes, it’s true. Proponents as luminous as Benjamin Franklin once advocated for the turkey to be the symbol on the Great Seal of The United States. That’s all history now, but the turkey remains of strong interest to conservationists. Progress continues on over 40 active U.S. Forest Service habitat projects in partnership with the National Wild Turkey Federation.