BMP CHALLENGE Update
November 15, 2006

in this issue
  • Eliminate Risk as a Barrier to Reduced Nutrients and Conservation Tillage
  • Upcoming Workshop in Minnesota Highlights Benefits of BMP CHALLENGE and Introduces Water Quality Credit Trading
  • New BMP CHALLENGE Brochures Available
  • Targeting and Human Dimension: Hot Topics at “Managing Agricultural Landscapes for Environmental Quality” Workshop

  • Upcoming Workshop in Minnesota Highlights Benefits of BMP CHALLENGE and Introduces Water Quality Credit Trading

    Dave Legvold is a soil conservationist who is always looking for new management approaches. When Legvold, director of the Cannon River Watershed Partnership, heard about the risk-free BMP CHALLENGE he dug in to convince farmers to get involved.

    “We need to stack benefits for them [farmers],” said Legvold. “With this program, you try it and if there’s economic loss based on hard science, you’re paid back.”

    With a late start in early spring, Legvold persuaded four farmers to try the Reduced Tillage BMP CHALLENGE. Although 2006 results are still being calculated, Legvold is sold on the BMP CHALLENGE concept. “There’s a great support system involved,” he said.

    Legvold will present his findings at a workshop on the afternoon of January 11, 2007 in New Ulm, Minnesota, along with others from Minnesota and elsewhere. The agenda includes an introduction to water quality credit trading and prospects for this new approach in Minnesota whereby farmers can earn incentives for BMPs that reduce nutrient and sediment runoff.

    The event is open to all. Extension, Soil and Water Conservation District, USDA-NRCS and local government staff are encouraged to attend, as well as watershed groups, crop advisors, coops and others working with farmers to meet conservation goals. For more information about the workshop or the BMP CHALLENGE please visit www.bmpchallenge.org or call 608-663-4697.


    New BMP CHALLENGE Brochures Available

    Interested in learning more about the BMP CHALLENGE for corn producers, or want an easy way to educate others about the CHALLENGE? Call 608- 663-4697 or email andrew.arlt@bmpchallenge.org to request a new informative brochure that explains the Nutrient and Reduced Tillage BMP CHALLENGE programs in-depth. You’ll learn who qualifies for the program and how to get started. Call now for your copy.


    Targeting and Human Dimension: Hot Topics at “Managing Agricultural Landscapes for Environmental Quality” Workshop
    soil and water consv. logo

    Targeting conservation efforts for maximum benefits to the environment was a key topic at a recent gathering of nearly 400 agronomists, soil scientists, biologists, ecologists, hydrologists, economists, sociologists, engineers and others in Kansas City in October. The event boasted over 100 speakers and 69 poster presentations, including many focused on targeting techniques and results.

    While “random acts of conservation” can deliver environmental improvements, targeting aims at sites and practices with greatest potential to produce measurable results. For example, in a specific watershed, a single operation may be contributing a large part of the sediment or nutrient loads. Identifying that operation, and the conservation practices that will resolve the situation, could greatly improve return on investment vs. an outreach effort aimed at all the operators in the watershed.

    That leads to a second hot topic: the human dimension. Why is one operation contributing so disproportionately to the watershed impairments? Tagging the operator as a “bad actor” is not productive, according to Pete Nowak, professor and rural sociologist at the University of Wisconsin. Pete argues that value judgments can block productive relationships. The behavior leading to the impairments is simply “inappropriate” and ripe for change if conservationists can identify and provide what the individual needs to make the change, be it income risk protection, cost-share or simply education about the impacts and options for resolution.

    Presentations are posted on the Society’s website, www.swcs.org, at http://www.swcs.org/en/swcs_international_conferen ces/index.cfm?nodeID=10645&audienceID=1.


    Eliminate Risk as a Barrier to Reduced Nutrients and Conservation Tillage

    Looking for incentives for your corn producers to try nutrient BMPs or reduced tillage systems? The BMP CHALLENGE protects farmers from income risk when they test these techniques.

    The CHALLENGE is available to corn producers and professionals working with corn producers in 13 states including DE, IA, IL, IN, MD, MI, MN, NC, NE, OH, PA, VA and WI. Extension, watershed managers, NRCS, conservation district staff and others with goals for watershed improvements are encouraged to explore how the CHALLENGE can support your work by calling 608-663-4697.

    "I only gained two more bushels per acre last year from 165 lbs. of nitrogen compared to 140 lbs. What I had been applying is not justified."- BMP CHALLENGE farmer

    The BMP CHALLENGE is powered by grants from the USDA NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant Program, the Altria Group, Great Lakes Protection Fund, Chesapeake Bay Commission and the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

    Visit BMP CHALLENGE Partners...

    American Farmland Trust- Agricultural Conservation Innovation Center

    Agflex

    Agren

    IPM Institute of North America, Inc.

    USDA NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant Program



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