Improved water quality means greater profitability

The Field to Market alliance is preparing to release a water quality metric to its Fieldprint Calculator. This update includes the integration of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service Water Quality Index and can help growers better understand how their farming systems and practices affect the quality of water flowing off their fields.

“The time, landscape and community in which farmers grow their crops, along with their management decisions and skills regarding inputs and production practices, all play a part in the profitability of a farming operation,” said Keith Alverson, the National Corn Growers Association’s board representative to Field to Market. “No farmer wants to leave dollars on the field, and the water quality metric in the Fieldprint Calculator will help determine if we are boosting yields enough to cover things like extra fertilizer costs or soil loss. While profitability is import, longevity is a greater priority.”

NCGA is involved in proactively addressing potential water quality concerns to avoid a one-size-fits-all regulation that will inhibit the ability of farmers to have adequate flexibility in managing issues unique to their operation. In addition to working with Field to Market, NCGA’s Production and Stewardship Action Team participates in the Ag Nutrient Policy Council and Waters Advocacy Coalition, two broad-based coalitions working to ensure the Clean Water Act works for American agriculture.

Although best management practices are adopted by individual growers, their performance and cost-effectiveness are not well characterized. To promote more sustainable water quality solutions, NCGA has invested in the development of a comprehensive data management system for collecting, storing, and evaluating water quality related agricultural best management practice information.

NCGA’s recent “Driving Change” video and its new Water Quality Training Module are recent additions to the organization’s water quality educational tools for farmers.

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