by Jason Johnson, State Public Affairs Specialist, USDA-NRCS, Des Moines, Iowa
A partnership agreement between the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Pheasants Forever (PF) is helping Iowa’s farmers and rural landowners learn about opportunities to improve profitability within their fields through a free analysis of their precision farm data.
Led by Josh Divan, precision ag and conservation specialist for PF in Iowa, the process helps producers identify underperforming crop acres and helps them identify how to increase field profits using targeted conservation practices that also benefit soil health, water quality and wildlife habitat.
Divan is working with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and farmers statewide to evaluate in-field, financial performance by coupling crop yields with crop budgets to create spatial profitability maps. “The data gives customers a clear picture of where they are consistently profiting or losing money in their fields,” says Divan. “That is invaluable when you are looking to improve the efficiency of your operation.”
Through the PF-USDA agreement, precision data analysis focuses on profitability, reduced risk, and sustainability at no cost to the farmer. Private, on-farm consultations with Divan and other PF specialists will provide:
unlimited technical support in processing and analyzing data,
a full suite of profit & ROI (Return On Investment) maps, scenario comparisons, and
alternatives that increase profitability, which are custom tailored to individual farm operations.
“Cropland can be ‘red’ for many different reasons,” says Divan. “It could be an area that ponds water or it could be a sandy hill. No matter where you farm, the research tells us that nearly 10 percent of every field loses money every year.”
Targeted enrollment of these marginal cropland areas into temporary conservation programs, such as the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), or applying conservation practices through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) are great alternatives to consider. “It’s impressive how much you can increase your profitability by looking at alternatives on only your most problematic acres,” says Divan. “Enrolling sensitive areas into CRP or other programs also frequently improves the ‘farmability’ of the rest of the field.”
To learn more about finding no cost solutions to poorly performing or environmentally sensitive cropland areas, contact Divan at 515-708-2371 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.