Learn about additional conservation practices you can implement to continue growing your stewardship on your operation.
Conservation through the Generations
While there were many tough decisions for Matt Webber to make upon taking over his family’s poultry and grain operation in 2006, his decision to continue implementing conservation practices through the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) wasn’t one of them. Matt’s father Bill instilled in him the importance
of taking care of the land, and Matt has worked with the agency to improve the health and productivity of his operation. “Practicing conservation is a positive for the viability of our farmland and keeping our crops productive,” Matt said. “It’s important to continue building on our conservation practices because we’re learning everyday about new practices and technologies that may be even better than what was used in the past.” Two of the practices Matt implemented that built upon his father’s stewardship were a nutrient management plan and an Agricultural Energy Management Plan (AgEMP).
NRCS worked with Matt to develop a nutrient management plan that optimized his plant yields while reducing the amount of nutrients lost to the environment. The plan considered all conditions on the farm and how they influenced one another. These include the farm location, soil, climate, crops grown, management conditions, and other site-specific factors. Matt has seen a significant savings since implementing this practice, and on average farmers can save nearly $30 per acre on land currently receiving excess nutrients.
Agricultural Energy Management Plan
The AgEMP, or energy audit, completed by certified Technical Service Providers (TSPs) provides:
- Itemized energy use by individual systems to establish a baseline for electricity and other fuel improvements,
- Recommendations for equipment improvements and upgrades,
- Potential energy reductions and financial savings for each recommendation Cost estimates of potential improvements, and
- Length of expected payback for energy efficiency upgrades
Once completed, eligible producers can apply for EQIP assistance for the purchase, installation, or retrofit of certain buildings or equipment to improve energy efficiency. After receiving his AgEMP, Matt was able to realize a significant costsavings by changing out incandescent bulbs in his poultry houses with LED and upgrading motors and equipment to more energy-efficient models.
After receiving his AgEMP, Matt was able to realize a significant costsavings by changing out incandescent bulbs in his poultry houses with LED and upgrading motors and equipment to more energy-efficient models.
Examples of other items eligible for energy efficiency improvements include:
- Plate coolers
- Ventilation and fans
- Irrigation pumps
- Grain dryers
- Greenhouse improvements
- Heating and refrigeration units
- Insulation and building envelope sealing
Looking to the Future
Matt feels that implementing conservation practices is essential for the long-term sustainability of his operation and to ensure that his land remains productive and healthy for the next generation. “We’re always moving forward with what we’re trying to implement on the farm,” he said. And we’ll continue doing that for the foreseeable future.”
To find out about other conservation practices you can implement to continue growing your stewardship, see the list below:
- Residue and Tillage Management, No-Till/Reduced Till
- Cover Crop
- Field Border
- Filter Strips
- Nutrient Management
- Prescribed Grazing
- Windbreaks/Shelterbelt Establishment and Renovation
- Riparian Herbaceous Cover
- Riparian Forest Buffer
- Wildlife Habitat Planting
- Tree/Shrub Establishment
- Combustion System Improvement
- Energy Efficient Agricultural Operation
- Energy Efficient Building Envelope
- Energy Efficient Lighting System
- Drainage Water Management
- Soil Carbon Amendment