The message reached our farm that the lake was having
problems with pollution and getting into it somehow. I mean I was very naïve on
the whole situation, but I knew that erosion was part of it and that the
pollution was traveling through the sediment. Well it wasn’t hard for me to
notice that all my riverbanks were eating up because my cows were allowed to
walk the riverbanks as they wished and wherever they could make it they’d go.
And I had a lot of erosion happening on my farm. Now I’m blessed with the
river going through it, but I’ve always said that I’ve been challenged with
the riverbanks that I need to deal with on the other side.
They (NRCS) gave me the guidance and the energy to qualify
for an EQIP program which directed me in a way in where I would develop a river
crossing which would take the cows off the riverbanks and narrow them into a
built river crossing that would minimize the amount that they need to play in
We also qualified for nutrient management because we
eventually found out that just because you clean up your barnyard doesn’t mean
that those same nutrients won’t bother you out in your crop land if you
don’t manage it right. So, with the nutrient management plan we were able to
measure what fields needed manure and what fields didn’t and I think that was
a good thing. Now we apply manure on a regulated rate and the ones that need it
we know how much, the ones that don’t we stay off of those, and if there is
any runoff off those fields at least their not carrying excess nutrients off
They (NRCS) first of all gave me hope. I mean we all know
what we need to do, I could see what was happening. But they gave me hope that
it could be done. It was a huge project. It’s taken me ten years, but they
gave me hope and the resources. When I say resources, the engineering, just the
engineering of creating a cattle lane on these hills. Because what is
? We’re basically mountain sides and riverbanks and it’s hard to deal with
it’s not just a nice flat prairie land. So they gave me the hope, the
engineering, and they gave me some cost share which helped encourage me to go
forward with the project.
I still have manure pit work to do. I have more cattle
lanes. But yeah, I was a problem child when they came to me ten years ago, but
I’m not done I’m not discouraged because I know they’re there to help.