Water quality and water quantity are two issues unparalleled in the minds of Kansas farmers, especially as regulators contemplate additional rules on the practices that may degrade water quality.
Producers in south central Brown County and small parts of Atchison and Jackson counties who farm in the Headwaters Grasshopper Creek in the Delaware River Watershed are eligible to apply for an edge-of-field water quality monitoring program being offered by the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program.
State Conservationist Eric Banks says that applications for the program must be received by July 18.
Headwaters Grasshopper Creek is a 22,000-acre watershed that was selected in 2012 for the National Water Quality Initiative to improve water quality in small watersheds for nutrient, sediment, and pathogen concerns.
Sediment is of particular concern for Kansas watersheds because the federal reservoirs that supply drinking and industrial water to the most populated regions of the state are filling in with sediment at a faster rate than originally predicted.
Impact on water quality
"NRCS is seeking producers to monitor the water quality benefits of a variety of conservation practices, such as no-till, cover crops, and grassed waterways on their land," said Banks. "The data from the monitoring will show the impacts of voluntary conservation practices on water quality, and will be used to validate NRCS water quality modeling efforts that will benefit agriculture across the nation."
The results will also be used to help farmers adapt their management to gain even greater water quality benefits that are compatible with agriculture production goals.
As monitoring progress is made, NRCS will be better able to focus conservation practices on the areas of greatest need using the most effective conservation systems. EQIP contracts for edge-of-field monitoring may extend for a total of 10 years.
For more information about NRCS and its programs, stop by your local USDA Service Center or go to the Web site.