PAW PAW – The Van Buren Conservation District is partnering with The Coca-Cola Company, World Wildlife Fund, Field to Market: The Keystone for Sustainable Agriculture, and The Nature Conservancy to promote best farming management practices in the Paw Paw Watershed. The collective group will use the Fieldprint Calculator, a tool developed by Field to Market, to analyze and assess how the management decisions of farmers in the region and their affect on land use, energy use, water use, greenhouse gas emissions, and soil loss.
The Fieldprint Calculator helps explore differing scenarios and combinations of on-farm management decisions, which may help improve natural resource management and an operation’s efficiency and financial return. The Van Buren Conservation District will use the tool to establish an anonymous data set of farm practices with carbon and water “fieldprints” of corn and soybean production in the Paw Paw Watershed.
To initiate the project, The Van Buren Conservation District will host area landowners and agricultural producers at its a spring farm tour, Wednesday, March 30, beginning at the Paw Paw Lions Club, 59050 CR 665, with a workshop introducing the Fieldprint Calculator. From there, a bus tour will take participants to local Paw Paw Watershed farms, showcasing effective crop covers, filter strips, and no-till practices that help “stop the slop.”
According to AJ Brucks of the Conservation District, there are approximately 96,400 acres of farmland in Van Buren County’s Paw Paw Watershed. About 22,130 of those acres are corn for grain, with an estimated 92 individual farms. Sediment and nutrients are pollutants of major concern for this area and can be greatly reduced with the adoption of agricultural best management practices such as crop covers, filter strips and conservation tillage, Brucks noted. “The Van Buren Conservation District works with landowners to initiate these best management practices and discusses available cost share opportunities through USDA farm bill programs.”
For more information or to sign up for the workshop and tour, call (269) 657-4030, ext. 5. Registration is free, but necessary as space is limited.
Source: The Courier-Leader