Commentary: Keep CRP at work in new Farm Bill
The Dickinson Press
In the 1980s, “public concern increased over the damage caused by agricultural erosion and water runoff carrying sediments, nutrients and pesticides into water bodies,” the University of Florida’s Extension Service reports. Studies indicated that the nation’s cropland was eroding and suffering soil losses at rates exceeding 3 billion tons per year. But thanks to the Conservation Reserve Program, which pays farmers to take highly erodible or environmentally sensitive land out of production for 10 years, that trend has been reversed. Read More
Farmers, ranchers work to conserve biggest aquifer in the US
With the help of the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, farmers and ranchers are working hard to conserve the Ogallala Aquifer, a 225,000-square-mile underground basin vital to agriculture, municipal and industrial development. The aquifer stretches from western Texas to South Dakota and supports nearly one-fifth of the wheat, corn, cotton and cattle produced in the United States. Many farmers are switching their irrigation systems from gravity to sprinkler center pivots and subsurface drip irrigation systems, which can increase pumping efficiencies by at least 40 percent. Read More
NRCS helps improve water quality in watersheds across the country
USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service announced today additional funding for the second year of the National Water Quality Initiative.
NRCS will make available nearly $35 million in financial assistance to farmers and ranchers in 164 priority watersheds this year to implement suites of conservation practices intended to improve water quality.
USDA Announces Second Sign-Up Deadline for Tyronza Mississippi River Basin Initiative Project
Sign-Up Deadline, May 24, 2013, for Tyronza MRBI project in Mississippi and Poinsett counties
Little Rock, Ark., April 24, 2013 – Farmers and landowners in the approved watershed for portions of Mississippi and Poinsett counties in Arkansas have until May 24, 2013, to submit applications to receive financial assistance to implement conservation practices through the Tyronza Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watershed Initiative (MRBI) project. The ranking process will be completed by June 3, 2013.
Under MRBI, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will provide technical and financial assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) for the project. The goal of the project, sponsored by the Mississippi County Conservation District, is to reduce the nutrient loss from agricultural land through improved nutrient use efficiency and reduced runoff from agricultural fields.
The focus of the conservation efforts will be utilization of conservation practices to reduce nutrient runoff and improve irrigation water management. There are several approved conservation practices to address the resource concerns such as: conservation crop rotation, residue management, cover crop, nutrient management, irrigation water management, and filter strips. A complete list of approved practices, information about the project and the project area map is available at www.ar.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/mrbi.html
For more information, contact one of the following NRCS Field Service Centers: Mississippi County,(870) 563-3207 , ext. 3; and Poinsett County, (870) 578-2444, ext. 3.
Arkansas’s next prescription drug take back will be held Saturday, April 27, 2013, from 10 AM until 2 PM.
All Arkansans are encouraged to again return their expired and unneeded prescription and over-the-counter drugs at sites provided by law enforcement officers statewide. Due to tremendous participation in prescription drug take back events and the success of other state initiatives, youth prescription drug abuse rates in Arkansas have fallen each of the last three years. Over 23 ½ tons of pills, estimated at 66 million, have been collected so far, and this puts our state at #4 in the country in weight collected per capita. To put this into perspective, the weight of pills collected to date is equivalent to the weight of about four school buses.
Participation is again very simple. Simply collect all unneeded medications, remove the pill bottle labels to insure privacy, and bring them to law enforcement officers stationed at the collection site of your choice on April 27. For more information and to and find the site nearest you, please visit http://www.artakeback.org/.
Every time you practice responsible disposal of prescription drugs by taking part in a take back event or by using a prescription drug drop box, you become part of the solution to our state’s prescription abuse challenges. Over 60% of teens report that getting drugs from family medicine cabinets is easy, and minimizing the chances that your medications become someone else’s abused drugs starts with cleaning out your own medicine cabinet.
This initiative is sponsored by DHS, DEA, the Office of the Drug Director, the Office of Attorney General, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern and Western District of Arkansas, the Arkansas State Police, the Arkansas Sheriffs Association, the Arkansas Association of Chiefs of Police, the Arkansas State Board of Pharmacy, Arkansas Rotary Clubs, Arkansas Business Publishing Group, and more than two hundred forty other federal, state, and local government agencies, law enforcement agencies, prevention coalitions, businesses, media organizations, and community groups statewide.
Commentary: Keep CRP at work in new Farm Bill
The Dickinson Press
In the 1980s, “public concern increased over the damage caused by agricultural erosion and water runoff carrying sediments, nutrients and pesticides into water bodies,” the University of Florida’s Extension Service reports. Studies indicated that the nation’s cropland was eroding and suffering soil losses at rates exceeding 3 billion tons per year. But thanks to the Conservation Reserve Program, which pays farmers to take highly erodible or environmentally sensitive land out of production for 10 years, that trend has been reversed.
Farmers, ranchers work to conserve biggest aquifer in the US.
With the help of the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, farmers and ranchers are working hard to conserve the Ogallala Aquifer, a 225,000-square-mile underground basin vital to agriculture, municipal and industrial development. The aquifer stretches from western Texas to South Dakota and supports nearly one-fifth of the wheat, corn, cotton and cattle produced in the United States. Many farmers are switching their irrigation systems from gravity to sprinkler center pivots and subsurface drip irrigation systems, which can increase pumping efficiencies by at least 40 percent.
The EDEN COP is pleased to host a live webinar April 25 at 3 PM Eastern. Safe Drinking Water Before, During and After a Disaster (https://learn.extension.org/events/1029) will focus on water storage for emergencies, and sources of water when stored water has been depleted.
The webinar is intended for consumers, homeowners and extension educators. There is no fee to attend, but please help us by registering here: http://eden.lsu.edu/Conferences/SCAP/Registration/Registration.aspx (use the drop down menu to select “Safe Drinking Water Before, During, and After a Disaster Webinar”
Conservation on farms is highly underestimated
The Star Democrat
According to a study by soil conservation experts released in March, farmers in Maryland’s Queen Anne’s, Kent and Howard counties have been implementing environmentally conscious practices on their own to the extent that the Watershed Implementation Plan will need to be re-evaluated. Conservation on Maryland farms in general, may be underestimated by 40 to 50 percent according to the data. Most of these undocumented practices were installed by farmers because it’s the right thing to do, the farmers said.
California farmers tackle seawater intrusion
Central Valley Business Times
After more than six decades of painstaking efforts, farmers in the Salinas Valley region of California are on the verge of ending the advance of seawater intrusion into the groundwater they use to irrigate nearly $4 billion worth of crops. In addition to several water supply projects, farmers have invested in efficiency and conservation measures on a significant scale.
Effort to cut UAE farms’ water use in half
Farming authorities in the United Arab Emirates plan to cut agricultural water use in the Western Region almost in half. The Farmers’ Services Center, the government body that aims to modernize Abu Dhabi farms, has more than doubled the number of farms with water-saving irrigation systems through its Efficient Irrigation Fund.
Commentary: Farms vs. environmentalists on agricultural chemicals
The Long Island Farm Bureau said that the public has misconceptions about pesticides — starting with their very definition. The farm bureau and its statewide umbrella organization are in a tug-of-war with environmental organizations over what action New York State should take to protect water quality, especially on Long Island, which gets all of its supply from the one aquifer below ground.
ADEQ Announces Summer Workshop Schedule
This summer we will feature special workshops on pharmaceuticals and water quality, Arkansas history, language arts, and stormwater. Each of these topics fits into the curriculum of Project WET and has an overlying theme of watershed education.
Don’t wait! Sign-up for a workshop near you TODAY!
Oklahoma tops in drive to curb water pollution
Efforts to curb nonpoint source pollution in Oklahoma’s waterways outpaced those in all other states in 2012, according to data collected by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Data show conservation efforts of landowners, the Oklahoma Conservation Commission and its local districts resulted in a more than 2.44 million pound reduction of phosphorus entering state’s streams, rivers and lakes. Best management practices also reduced nitrogen loading by an estimated 2.7 million pounds and sedimentation by 10,000 tons.
Researcher: Measuring microbes makes wetland health monitoring more affordable
Wetlands serve as Earth’s kidneys. They filter and clean people’s water supplies while serving as important habitat for many species, including iconic species like cattails, cranes and alligators. Conventional ecosystem health assessments have focused on populations of these larger species. However, the tiny, unseen creatures in the wetlands provided crucial indicators of the ecosystems’ health in a study by University of Missouri Associate Professor of Engineering Zhiqiang Hu and his team.
Study: Weather, farm run-off created lake’s largest algae bloom
Changing agricultural practices and weather conditions are cited in a study as the likely causes of what is considered the largest harmful algae bloom in Lake Erie’s recorded history. And the study by researchers at the University of Michigan and eight other institutions describes the 2011 algae bloom as a harbinger of things to come rather than an isolated occurrence.
Texas high plains prepare for agriculture without irrigation
Circle of Blue
Cotton farming in West Texas, among the nation’s driest regions, is possible only because there is water —millions of gallons from wells drilled into the Ogallala Aquifer, which runs from Texas to Nebraska. But Texas is one of the first in line for the economic and social reckoning that some of the world’s agricultural hotspots will face in the coming decades. California’s Central Valley, India’s Gangetic Plain, the North China Plain and
the Arabian Peninsula — all are key farming regions, and all are sucking out groundwater at unsustainable rates.