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Conservation for the Future Series 2021

Publish Date
Pollinator field border provides habitat and food source for pollinator insects. Deakin Farms, Pondera County, MT.

The stories below highlight several Montana landowners' experiences in working with NRCS.

Animal Feeding Operations, Park and Gallatin County, MT

Featuring two producers with two different situations in Park and Gallatin counties that are addressing animal feeding and/or confinement locations along streams to improve water quality, livestock health, and the operations of their farm or ranch. Hear from Gary Flikkema near Manhattan and Mark Thiesen, Jr. near Wilsall.

StoryMap: Moving Livestock Pens Out of Waterway Has Long Term Benefits


Regenerative Agriculture with the Hawks Family, Galata, MT

Cory and Belinda Hawks are progressive young producers deeply committed to regenerative agriculture, starting with their dedication to building soil health. They are using many practices on both their grazing and crop lands to achieve results that are improving their operation's resilience.

StoryMap: Hawks Family Using Innovation and Soil Health Near Galata


No-Till and Soil Health with Dan Buerkle, Plevna, MT

Dan Buerkle of Fallon County has long been a community leader in regenerative agriculture and soil health. Hear from Dan about how he got started in no-till and continued to consider soil health in his management decisions.

StoryMap: Buerkle Family Farm a Leader in Regenerative Agriculture


Organic Farming on Deakin Farms, Conrad, MT

Michael and Emily Deakin are a young family that are operating an organic farm in Pondera County. Not only are they farming organically, they are also working to be regenerative and improve soil health on their operation. The Deakins have worked with NRCS through EQIP to use pollinator-friendly crops, cover crops, field borders that support pollinators and upload game birds, diverse crop rotations, and more.

StoryMap: The Deakin Family is Farming Organically and Regeneratively


Foust Family Wetland Easement, Moiese, MT

Glenn and Arnold Foust explain the history of their family property, why they chose to enroll a portion of it in the Wetland Reserve Easement program, and how they relied on NRCS throughout the wetland restoration process.

StoryMap: Family Unites to Restore and Preserve Wetlands


Nutrient Management on the Houzvicka Ranch, Plevna, MT

Because of years practicing land management focused on soil health and minimized inputs, producers like the Houzvickas are able to adjust and adapt to situations as they arise. This includes the severe drought of 2021. Hear how these life-long learners are putting the soil health principles to work for them.

StoryMap: Houzvickas Building Drought Resiliency near Plevna


Grazingland Monoculture Conversion, Stillwater County, MT

Crested wheatgrass, a cool season perennial, dominates acres of rangeland across northern Stillwater County, Montana. Through Montana Focused Conservation and a Targeted Implementation Plan focusing on this resource concern, producers in that area are working to increase the diversity of plants, which increases grazing management options. Hear from Sterling Ballbach and Courtney Herzog, both ranching near Rapelje, MT.

StoryMap: From Crested Wheatgrass Monoculture to Diversified Grazing


Rocky Point Forest Health, Lake County, MT

NRCS, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, the Lake County Conservation District, and local homeowners are partnering to improve forest health and decrease the threat of wildfire in the Rocky Point neighborhood on the northern shore of Flathead Lake.

StoryMap: Partnering to Protect the Wildland Urban Interface


Spring Creek Leafy Spurge, Choteau, MT

Private landowners along Spring Creek have partnered with the NRCS to develop a Targeted Implementation Plan through Montana Focused Conservation. This TIP specifically addresses leafy spurge infestations in the Spring Creek riparian area. As Spring Creek empties into the Teton River, the project also decreases the further spread of leafy spurge to downstream riparian areas. Hear from landowner, Mary Sexton.

StoryMap: Landowners Tackle Leafy Spurge through Focused Conservation


Ventenata Control, Big Horn County, MT

Hear from three producers across Big Horn County and the Crow Reservation that are using different methods to control the invasive warm season grass, ventenata. Ryan Rigler, Clay Gregory, and Mickey Steward are all working to improve the condition of their grazing lands by mitigating the impacts of invasive species.

StoryMap: Ventenata Control: One Problem, Two Solutions