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Water in the News

July 10, 2014

Soil erosion and agriculture sustainability
Ag Journal

As Southeastern Colorado enters the third consecutive year of drought, the threat of soil erosion caused by wind is increased. Drought affects soil moisture, plant growth and the amount of crop residue left after harvesting. Although farmers and ranchers have adopted soil conservation practices over the years, wind erosion erosion remains one of the most serious problems impacting agricultural productivity and sustainability in this area.

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Reduce risk of fallow or flooded soil syndrome with cover crops
Minnesota Farm Guide

The challenging spring of 2014 has resulted in widespread planting delays in parts of the state and a significant amount of acres that remain unplanted at this time. If the decision has been made to take the “prevented planting” option for insurance purposes, the question remains about what to do with these acres. In other parts of the state, extensive flooding and/or severe hail has significantly damaged standing crops. In either case, leaving the ground bare greatly increases the risk of not only soil erosion, but also the risk of “Fallow Syndrome” the following year.

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Study analyzes agricultural stormwater system

After implementing an agricultural stormwater cascading system on his farm near Chestertown, Maryland, in 2011, new data shows that Samuel Owings’s self-constructed system is fulfilling its purpose to reduce agricultural runoff from flowing into the Hambleton Creek, Chester River and Chesapeake Bay. “The system is capturing the runoff and a lot of sedimentation,” Owings said.

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McCarthy says agencies didn’t anticipate regulatory role for USDA in Water Act rule
Bloomberg BNA

The Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers didn’t anticipate a regulatory role for the Agriculture Department in developing their interpretive rule to clarify Clean Water Act permitting exemptions associated with “normal” agricultural activities, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said July 8. However, she dismissed as “myths” that the interpretive rule would limit or narrow the scope of normal agricultural, ranching and silvicultural practices that have historically been exempt from dredge-and-fill permits under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act.

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Ohio farmer says ecology will solve water problems
The Lima News

A farmer in Mercer County, Ohio, is claiming to know both the cause and have the answer to clean water problems on local waterways. “The solution is easy,” Jeff Rasawehr said. “It comes down to individual accountability for each farmer.” Rasawehr’s 2,100-acre grain farm has been in the family for four generations. Rasawehr credits its rich soils to incorporated cover crops and interseeding of clover into grain crops. He has received a SARE grant to continue his work using cover crops to improve no-till methods and enhance soil nutrient absorption.

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