Agricultural Management Assistance (AMA) Improves Farmer's Irrigation System
In 2009, Dave Rogers of Dancing Meadow Farm signed the Farmer’s Pledge with Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) to produce crops under the guidance of the organic production standards. Dave was a recent retiree with an intensively managed raised bed system. He was looking for a way to increase his capacity and extend his growing season to meet the demands of the “winter market” Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) that was rapidly growing out of markets he was serving.
At that same time, through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) Special Project, New York State was offering Seasonal High Tunnels as a way to extend the growing season and was looking to growers to provide feedback on the management and yields of crops grown inside and outside the Seasonal High Tunnel.
As a beginning farmer, Dave had not worked with the USDA- Natural Resources Conservation Service before. While he was setting up his farm records and we were able to do some conservation planning and resource inventories with him, we were able to identify areas on the farm better suited to perennial crops and crop management.
Dave constructed a Seasonal High Tunnel in the fall of 2010 and right away he was able to see the benefits of the extended season and worked on maximizing the use of available space in the high tunnel with vertical crops on trellis, as well as, traditional in ground crops. Every available space is utilized!
While working with Dave to developing a conservation plan for his land, his irrigation system was identified as a source of overland flow runoff, due to leaking mainline pipes and inefficient water use.
Dave was able to sign up for the Agricultural Management Assistance (AMA) program to improve his irrigation system by converting to buried mainlines, trickle irrigation and a more efficient pumping system. He was able to fit a fertigation delivery system into his trickle delivery system to apply fertilizer directly to the rooting area of the plant.
Agricultural Management Assistance is a voluntary program that provides financial assistance to eligible agricultural producers who are willing to address priority environmental issues by implementing conservation practices.
If you are interested in AMA or want to learn how you can protect natural resources on your farm or forestland, please contact your local NRCS office.