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Faces in the Lower Little Blue River Watershed | CSP Success Story

Faces in the Lower Little Blue River Watershed

Washington County (Kansas) Landowners Sign First Conservation Security Program (CSP) Contract

Barbara and Rod ArbuthnotRod Arbuthnot has been a steward of the land all his life, over 60 years: first farming with his father and then with his wife, Barbara of 42 years. Rod says his father put in some of the first terraces in Washington County.

Rod attended a CSP information meeting in Washington County to see what the program was all about. He picked up the self-assessment booklet, went home, and began to put things together. Later, he attended the small group sessions.

Arbuthnot Farms, located in the sandstone hills of northwestern Washington County, is a cropland, rangeland, and cattle operation.

According to the NRCS rangeland management specialist working in Washington County, the Arbuthnots represent the best of the best in their farming and ranching practices. The conservation practices used on the rangeland, such as brush and invasive plant management, rotational grazing, to establish the healthy biotic communities in the rangeland demonstrate the quality of the conservation stewardship practiced on this land.

All eligible streams of Arbuthnot Farms are protected by 41 acres of native grass filter strips enrolled in the Continuous Conservation Reserve Program.

All odd areas are left for wildlife: deer, turkey, prairie chickens, and others.

A stewardship activity started several years ago when Extension and Research from Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, experimented with biological control of musk thistle by placing weevils into the flower head. Today, this self-sustaining control keeps musk thistle in check.

Rod switched to minimum tillage in the 80's and then to no-till in the 90's. Reviewing his records since the 60's shows a substantial decrease in his fertilizer and pesticide use since going no-till.

Barbara commented about the healthy land around them, "This is our golf course, our outlet."

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Faces in the Lower Little Blue River Watershed (PDF; 863 KB)