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Water in the News

July 30, 2014

Replant flooded land to prevent erosion and keep soil health alive
Farm & Ranch Guide

Don’t wait to develop a restoration plan for land devastated by recent floods. Quick action can prevent erosion and maintain soil health, said Matt Fenske, vice president of Business Development for Millborn Seeds. “I know it’s an overwhelming mess today, but if nothing is done to repair and replant this summer, soil biology will disappear and there will be nothing to stop further erosion,” said Fenske. He goes on to explain that living plants are essential to soil health. “They maintain soil biology, prevent compaction, enhance water infiltration and keep weeds at bay.”

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Ag applauds bill to invalidate EPA waters rule

In a letter to U.S. Reps. Reid Ribble, R-Wisconsin, and Kurt Schrader, D-Oregon, the sponsors of the Agricultural Conservation Flexibility Act, the National Potato Council and dozens of agriculture groups applauded the legislation as a means to block EPA’s “Waters of the United States” interpretive rule, which expands federal jurisdiction over U.S. waters. The Interpretive Rule specifies that 56 activities, many of which are routine farming and ranching activities, would be exempt from the Clean Water Act permitting requirements only if they are conducted in compliance with the applicable USDA conservation standards.

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Ocean-watching satellite reveals secrets of soil

A satellite launched to study the salinity of the ocean is also proving helpful in understanding the land. NASA’s Aquarius instrument, which is aboard the Argentinian Satélite de Aplicaciones Científicas, captured the data used to show soil moisture around the globe. The resulting soil moisture map is useful for researchers monitoring soil conditions for agriculture, as well as scientists trying to understand the global water cycle, according to NASA’s Earth Observatory.

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New, biodegradable hydrogel could help farmers store water for crops
Tri-City Herald

A new, biodegradable hydrogel being developed by Washington State University researchers could help farmers better use water during the growing season. When placed near the roots of crops, the hydrogel will absorb up to 250 times its own weight in water and then will slowly release the water, allowing thirsty roots to drink what otherwise would have been lost in the soil.

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House, Senate recognize locally focused conservation efforts
Farm Futures

As the National Association of Conservation Districts opens its Soil Health Forum and Conservation Tour in Indianapolis, national legislators in the House and Senate released two resolutions praising the potential of locally led, voluntary, incentive-based conservation. It’s a cause that will be more important than ever as agriculture attempts to feed nine billion people by 2050, said National Association of Conservation Districts President Earl Garber.

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