I had my meeting with NRCS today for the Conservation Security Program. This is a relatively new program that encourages farmers and landowners to improve their land with no-till and other water and soil conservation practices.
The big stickler is getting your landlords to sign up for the five year program. That means you need a five year lease and 1-3 year leases are more common here. It is easier for the farmer to sign up who owns land.
I met all of the qualifications and made a goal to comply with the new EPA nozzle requirements for sprayers which I was going to do anyway. I want to keep every field green all winter and plant more cover crops as the seasons allow but didn't set that as a goal on paper. Two wet falls and it looks like you are not doing what you signed up to do.
Another big one is "are you using high efficiency electric motors?" Every one that I have replaced meets that requirement but a few old ones are still working. As they die, I will replace them with the new higher efficiency motors and fans and showed the agents that.
Channels or bodies of water in the farmland is another one and we walked to the creek on the new farm and the corn needed to be 30 feet from the edge of the creek. I wasn't positive on that one so I showed them and it was 66 feet from the edge of the creek thanks to the trees lining that creek. I need to plant alfalfa under the dripline of the border because it won't raise a crop anyway and I don't want to lose the trees anchoring the soil banks.
While we were looking we saw a lot of racoon and deer damage. The neighbors confirmed those critters have been active feeding on my corn. I would say we lost an acre of corn along the creek. That field corn must have tasted good in the roasting ear stage! We will leave a few rows of corn for them for winter against my desire but to keep the tree huggers happy. Most people have no idea how much damage wildlife do to fields.
I can check one more thing of my to do list and focus on the busload of Canadian farmers coming to visit tomorrow. We have the drill sitting out so we can discuss how to set up a drill or planter and explain how we use it to save soil and increase profits by notilling.
Should get interesting here tomorrow afternoon! They were impressed with my spatial rainfall data I get at http://www.spatialrainfallconsulting.com/nexradrain.html and all of the farmers who have seen this site or my data are intrigued by it too. The data reflects my crop yields and how I manage my cropping system around rainfall events.