As technology, conservation, sustainability and profitability circling the headlines, producers and industry organizations turn their focus to preserving for the generation to come. In a joint effort to do so, two organizations — National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Pheasants Forever have partnered to turn red acres green, for conversation, production and profitability.
Troy Daniell, Minnesota State Conservationist for the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) and Tanner Bruse, Pheasants Forever’s Ag and Conservation Program Manager, continue to take lead on the partnership effort.
The partnership between NRCS and Pheasants Forever first started in 2003 in South Dakota. As of today, there are 175 field staff in partnership and about 25-30 states involved in the mission. Bruse says the ultimate goal is to fill the niche of delivering conservation voluntarily to farmers to help them reach their conservation goals. Together, the two continue to work hand-in-hand to provide technical expertise and conservation planning and implement conservation and wildlife habitat projects for farmers, ranchers and landowners far and wide.
As the partnership continues to grow and expand — agronomists, field staff and biologists focus their attention on educating farmers on conservation practices, programs and concerns. Daniell says even though America leads the world in production agriculture and precision agriculture technology, the industry cannot remain sustainable without conserving the resource that provides the food to produce.
Similar to the U.S. population, agricultural productivity or output if you will, has also double in the last six decades. Up until recent technology developments however, there has been a disconnect between production agriculture and conservation agriculture. For many years, producers have been trying to identify underperforming and unproductive acres to increase profitability and target conservation practices. However, technology in the 21st century has allowed producers the ability to look at individual acre profitability.
“It is a really powerful tool to give you the ability to start identifying acres that are losing money year after year no matter what the variables are and to identify a conservation program that will actually put you back in the green,” Bruse says. “If you can start removing acres that are underperforming, it turns a whole field profit.”
The conservation programs that both Pheasants Forever and NRCS are working to implement help farmers reduce erosion, improve water quality and supplies, increase wildlife habitat and reduce damage caused by floods or natural disasters. The main objective of offering conservation programs is to assist producers in getting conservation practices applied and assist in some of their input costs. For more information about the USDA Farm Service Agency Conservation programs, visit fsa.usda.gov.
“There is not one-size-fits-all and every producer is going to have a different twist on their operation, but the economic benefits are pretty significant to the people who have fully adopted to soil health principles,” says Daniell.
If the last year has shown anything, it is the power of working together and the power of partnerships. “The world is getting bigger and more complex all the time, so it’s really imperative that we have a viable, strong and highly productive ag system that entails conservation,” Daniell says. “The partnership is there to help do what you need to do on your land to help your pocketbook and help the generations to come.”
To learn more about the partnership effort between NRCS and Pheasants Forever visit nrcs.usda.gov, reach out to Troy Daniell directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit pheasantsforever.org or reach out directly to Tanner Bruse at email@example.com.
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