About the BMP Adoption Project
Protecting Corn Farmers from Risks When They Adopt Best Management Practices (BMPs)
And Another Reason to Follow Nutrient BMPs ...
Service Income Opportunity for Input Dealers and Crop Advisors
|in this issue
|Protecting Corn Farmers from Risks When They Adopt Best Management Practices (BMPs)
Corn farmers and organizations working with farmers
on BMP adoption have a great opportunity, thanks to
new grants from the USDA Natural Resources
Conservation Service and the North Central IPM
Center. The project provides, at reduced or no-
cost, a risk-free guarantee that compensates
farmers for any yield and income loss while trying out
cost-saving and environmentally sound practices.
The program supports corn farmers when they follow
nutrient BMPs, reduce tillage or adopt corn rootworm
IPM. By helping farmers evaluate these practices
risk-free, farmers stand to learn how beneficial they
are and adopt them long-term on their entire farm.
According to Brian Brandt, director of the Agricultural
Conservation Innovation Center at American
Farmland Trust (AFT), “We want this program to
increase the use of best practices that save farmers
money and promote cleaner water,” said Brandt.
In addition to the assurance of an income guarantee,
farmers may find that AFT’s program is inviting since
the new practice does not have to be applied to the
entire farm. They can enroll just one field or a
portion of a field.
The program is unique in that it
farmers to maintain a “check” strip in one or two trial
fields. On the check strip, the farmers can apply
fertilizer, use their conventional tillage practice, or
use rootworm pesticides as they normally would.
This gives farmers the evidence they need, on their
own farm, to decide which practices produce the
Organizations with working relationships with corn
farmers, input dealers and crop advisors are
encouraged to participate in the program. “AFT is
looking for involvement from organizations that can
use this as an educational tool in their own projects
and regions,” said Brandt. These include state
agencies, Extension, crop consultants, environmental
groups and others whose missions include improving
farmer income and/or protecting the environment.
The program is available to farmers
growing corn for grain or silage in Iowa, Illinois,
Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania and
Wisconsin. For more information about the program,
contact Regina Hirsch at 608 873-8393 or regina.hirsc
email@example.com. Hirsch is a consultant working
with AFT to implement the program in Midwestern
|And Another Reason to Follow Nutrient BMPs ...
Corn farmers are understandably concerned about
potential yield and income loss when they reduce
nutrient application rates. Now, the combination of
low corn prices,
high fertilizer costs and the availability of the risk
protection program make a strong
financial case for doing so. Hurricanes Katrina and
Rita caused fuel prices to swell this fall, pushing
fertilizer prices to record highs.
Reducing fertilizer use to BMP rates may be the best
way to combat the climbing prices. A simple soil test
that lets corn farmers know the phosphorous (P) and
potassium (K) levels may be all that is needed to
evaluate fertilizer use, wrote Robert Mullen, Ohio
State University Extension Specialist, in a February
Newsletter. If the
soil is high to extremely high in P and K, farmers do
not need to apply more of those nutrients, wrote
High prices of nitrogen-based fertilizers also have
farmers thinking of alternative fertilizer options. But
since most alternatives are liquid or solid in form,
they might require different machinery, therefore
costing potentially more than nitrogen-based
fertilizers. That leaves farmers with the limited
options of reduced use, more efficient use, or no use
at all if testing indicates adequate soil levels.
|Service Income Opportunity for Input Dealers and Crop Advisors
Input dealers, does margin erosion on farm chemicals
searching for other sources of income? If so,
consider the services farmers will need to implement
BMPs. This new project
provides an opportunity to transition to greater
service revenue in your income mix.
Input dealers and crop consultants play a key role.
Certified crop consultants are
needed to work with corn farmers one-on-one to
develop nutrient BMPs, scout fields for corn
rootworm, and provide support for farmers trying out
reduced tillage practices. In addition, crop advisors
will also position a “check” strip where farmers will
apply their traditional practices, and help the farmer
assess yield at harvest.
Participating crop consultants must be CCAs, or
certified by either the National Alliance of
Independent Crop Consultants or ARCPACS in an area
of crop science. Individuals approved by a
governmental entity as qualified to establish a
nutrient management plan are also eligible. To find
out how to get involved, contact Regina Hirsch at
608 873-8393 or regina.hirsc
About the BMP Adoption Project
Initiated in 1996, our goal is to increase adoption of
Best Management Practices, or BMPs, by reducing
risks to farmers. BMP performance can be
impacted by unpredictable weather or other events
out of a farmer's control. Performance guarantees
assure farmers the best outcome - and are great
educational tools for those working with farmers to
expand practices that benefit us all.
This effort was initiated by the Agricultural
Conservation Innovation Center, now
a project of American Farmland Trust, and is now
operated along with
partners Agren, Agflex, IPM Works LLC and the IPM
Institute of North America.
Thanks to funders Altria Group, Inc., Great Lakes
Protection Fund, McKnight Foundation, National Fish
and Wildlife Foundation, Ohio EPA, USDA NRCS
Conservation Innovation Grant Program and US EPA.