Nutrient Management – A common misconception from the public is that manure is always a “waste” or “pollutant”. From a farm perspective, manure is a valuable natural resource for nutrients that the farmer needs to grow a crop. Utilizing manure means that a farmer can apply less fertilizer to a field. Nutrient Management is a complex tool to help farmers make the best decisions about when and how to apply nutrients.
Soil Management – ‘Soil health’ is a big concept that is gaining traction across the country and farmers are learning that promoting soil health can be a win-win for their farm and the environment. The challenge is that while ‘soil health’ is universally relevant, it is very locally applied. That is, soils vary a lot in their capacity for change, and local factors such as regional weather and climate effect how crops can be managed. Soil health focuses on keeping the soil covered and adding organic matter to the soil. Soil health practices include using reduced/no-tillage and cover crops, and intensive grazing management.
How are we addressing water quality?
The Coalition addresses water quality from multiple angles. We facilitate dialogue among farmers, and between farmers and many other organizations. In addition to fostering common ground, continued dialogue is necessary to gauge success and find solutions that work for the farm community. Solutions that come from the ground-up, and are tested on-farm, are much more likely to be adopted and pursued in the long term.
Practices We Are Trying and Promoting
Additional practices are used to compliment field-based management, such as field buffers and grassed waterways. The Coalition hosts impromptu field walks, coordinated field days, bus tours, monthly and annual meetings, and newsletters where farmers have opportunities to discuss what they are doing and share with each other what is working, what isn’t working and what has potential to work. Farmers can help each other progress and improve. Coalition members are always trying new things.