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Water in the News

May 1, 2014

Calculator uses tool to track farmers’ water quality improvement
Ag Professional

A nonprofit for sustainable agriculture recently launched a new metric in its calculator that relies on a popular tool from USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. Field to Market, the Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, recently updated its Fieldprint Calculator that measures outcomes in the field to include a metric to measure water quality.

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Farm Bureau asks members to reject EPA ‘waters of the US’ proposal

The American Farm Bureau Federation recently asked its members to resist a proposed rule from the Environmental Protection Agency to define “waters of the U.S.” Published April 21 in the Federal Register, the “waters of the U.S.” proposed rule reflects the EPA’s latest interpretation of the 1972 Clean Water Act. AFBF President Bob Stallman said the rule could ultimately lead to the unlawful expansion of federal regulation to cover routine farming and ranching practices.

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Farmers engaged in Iowa Water Quality Initiative
Mason City Globe Gazette

Many Iowa farm fields are turning green earlier than normal this spring as a rapidly growing number of farmers are using cover crops to help better protect the soil and water they depend on to make their living. Farmers are always looking for new and better ways to raise crops and livestock, and cover crops is a promising tool starting to catch on as way to prevent erosion, improve soil health and limit nutrient loss.

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Conservation efforts target women landowners
Corn + Soybean Digest

Women own a great deal of U.S. farmland, and one national women’s sustainable farming group aims to help these landowners learn more. Women, Food and Agriculture, a national community of women involved in sustainable agriculture, provides the information and confidence they need to take action and work with tenants to improve soil and water conservation on their farmland.

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Producers reminded to check with USDA before breaking out new ground or altering wetlands
Hamburg Reporter

As the days become longer and warmer, Nebraska producers begin spring planting. The USDA wants to remind farmers to keep conservation compliance in mind before making any major land use changes on their farming or ranching operations. Conservation compliance refers to the USDA requirement that highly erodible land be farmed in a manner that maintains a certain level of residue and minimizes soil erosion. This may include practicing no-till or planting cover crops.

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Measuring erosion became his mission
The Des Moines Register

Rainstorms are keeping Iowa farmers from planting, but they also could be creating other problems in fields across the state. Iowa State University agronomy professor Rick Cruse is searching for a way to measure erosion in ephemeral gullies — deep washes that spring up in fields across the state that can sweep away Iowa’s richest, most productive soil. Erosion in ephemeral gullies also can contribute eventually to excess nutrients in rivers and lakes, particularly phosphorus.

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IBM’s weather forecasting technology to be put to use for irrigation, water conservation
University of Georgia via

Researchers in the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences are teaming up with IBM to work with farmers in Georgia’s Lower Flint River Basin to enhance water efficiency by up to 20 percent. The college and IBM are collaborating with the Flint River Partnership to help farmers make the best irrigation scheduling decisions in order to conserve water, improve crop yields and mitigate the impact of future droughts.

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