What are you doing to promote soil health and water quality?
To promote soil health and improve water quality on my farm, I am 100% cover-cropped on all row-crop acres, use no anhydrous ammonia, and practice no-till. I rotate 3-4 crops throughout my operation, using extended rotations and planting summer covers after my small-grains, if the legume underseeding fails. I also enrolled five fields, totaling over 100 acres of cropland into CRP, seeded to highly diverse prairie mixes. I run a cover crop seed business and also do custom seeding, so am actively promoting roots in the ground, year-round to all of my customers. I am a commissioner for the Marshall Soil and Water Conservation District and a member of the Iowa River Watershed Coalition as well.
What is being done in your county to support soil health and water quality?
Some folks are using cover crops regularly, although not as many as ought. No-till was popular until crop prices went up, now a lot more recreational tillage happens in the fall and spring by folks who know better, and apparently have more money than sense. Luckily, there are some good farmers who try really hard to keep their soil on their farms, and see the benefits of conservation. A surprising amount of low-performing cropland has been enrolled into CRP, and that's good for more than just water quality. A good time to be a pheasant hunter!
What could be done with more public funding for soil health and water quality?
With more funding, more efforts could be made to place the highest-risk land into enterprises or programs that financially benefit a farmer or landowner's operation, while greatly improving the overall health and quality of the environment. But funding is not everything. Changing the mindset of legislators and landowners to prioritize the health and longevity of this, the most productive soil in the world, should be considered the most important effort.