2018

VHCB 2018 Grant Opportunities for Farmers!

Are you a farmer seeking funding to help complete a capital improvement project on your farm?

The Vermont Farm & Forest Viability Program, a program of the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board, has grant funds available for farmers!

Eligible farmers can apply for Water Quality Grants or Dairy Improvement Grants, both of which provide grants of $5,000 to $40,000.  Matching funds are required for both programs and may include federal or state grants as well as cash or loans.  VHCB will hold three competitive grant rounds, with the first upcoming deadline on August 13, 2018.  Application materials will be available on their website by the end of June.

 

Visit the links below for more information!

  

 

Conservation Road Signs “For My Land, For Our Water”

Do the people driving down your road recognize cover cropping when they see it?  Do they notice a field where “no-till” planting is building soil health?  Do they appreciate the importance of growing permanent grass, especially on our most vulnerable soils?

New roadside signs developed by the Franklin County Conservation District (website hyperlinked) are available to celebrate examples of such conservation practices!  The tag-line, “For my land, for our water” conveys the benefits the landowner sees in soil health, stream-bank stabilization, and crop productivity, as well as the water quality benefits that everyone appreciates.

The FWA purchased 65 signs to give to our members for free!  30 for cover cropping, 20 for growing grass, and 15 for no-till.  These signs will be distributed on a first-come-first-serve basis – so please email us at FarmersWatershedAllianceNW@gmail.com if you would like some signs for your fields!

Placement and storage considerations:

  • Place signs more than 14 feet from the white line of any state roads or they will be picked up by the state highway crews. Restrictions on town roads may vary.
  • Place your signs where they will be visible from the road, and not blocked by growing vegetation.
  • Remove and store your signs when the practice you are advertising is no longer obviously visible (e.g. cover crop has been terminated.)
  • Remove and store your signs before winter. With proper care, signs should last two or more seasons.
  • Take a picture with the sign, the practice you are promoting (and yourself, if you wish!) and send it to FranklinCountyNRCD@gmail.com and/or FarmersWatershedAllianceNW@gmail.com. Your pictures will be used to further promote the good work farmers are doing.

Product specs:

  • 18” x 24”
  • Double-sided
  • Full color
  • Wire H-frame stake included
  • UV-resistant

 

2018 Annual Meeting

The Farmer’s Watershed Alliance’s 2018 Annual Meeting was held at the St. Albans Elks Lodge 1566 on Thursday, April 12th.  There were 68 attendees – check out some highlights below!

 

The evening began with opening remarks from our Chair, Darlene Reynolds.  She gave an introduction, spoke of the importance of getting farmer’s stories in the media, Vermont’s current agricultural climate, and the ways in which the FWA supports our members. 

 

Guests then enjoyed a delicious dinner catered by Dairy Center Catering!  After dinner there was a series of presentations.  Catherine Davidson, FWA Program Coordinator, showcased the FWA’s 2017 achievements as well as 2018 projects that farmer’s can get involved with.

Accomplishments:

  • Hiring of a full-time Program Coordinator – August 2017
  • Updated website/web presence
  • Building and implementing a cloud-based online database system for membership
  • Additional funding awarded through writing successful grant/contract proposals/applications
  • FWA’s first Precision Agriculture Forum – January 2018
  • FWA’s first booth at the Vermont Farm Show – January/February 2018
  • The 6 AerWays FWA owns – used on 978 acres over 7 farms
  • Installing 3 Grassed Waterways on Farms this spring with funding awarded through the Lake Champlain Basin Program

2018/2019 Projects to get involved in:

  • Grassed Waterways and Filter Strips program funded by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture
  • 5-part Precision Agriculture on Farms in Vermont Video Series funded by the Lake Champlain Basin Program

 

Heather Darby, FWA Treasurer, gave a presentation on the UVM Extension Northwest Crops & Soils Team/FWA ongoing Tile Drainage project, followed by a legislative update.

 

Jeff Sanders, FWA’s Farm Assessment Coordinator, talked about the work FWA has accomplished through the VAAFM Northlake contract.  A total of $115,000 has been spent by VAAFM thus far on these projects.  We have 7 contracted projects, of which 2 have been completed:

  1. Excavate fallen manure stack from man-made pond -> Completion of this project has reduced the potential for nutrients to leach into Lake Carmi and conservation habitat
  2. Barnyard improvement, clean water diversion, lane-way improvement -> Completion of this project has reduced nutrient loss to surface waters and improved the barnyard making for happier cows!

 

‘Remembering Dick Longway’:  The FWA played an Across the Fence clip of when Dick won ‘2010 Vermont Dairy Farmer of the Year’.  His family was given a plaque by the FWA recognizing him as a leader in the agricultural community, being on the forefront of implementing and promoting land stewardship on farms in Vermont.

 

The evening closed with a comedy & music performance by comedian Rusty DeWees!

 

Thank you to all of our members and sponsors who made this evening possible:

 

H730 Proposes to Deem Lake Carmi a “Lake in Crisis”

Your fellow farmers need your support!

As part of Vermont’s agricultural community, you likely know that there has been tremendous pressure on farms that live and grow crops in the Lake Carmi Watershed.  A bill sitting in Montpelier (H730 – hyperlinked for reference) may actually get passed.  This bill would allow ANR to cease all agricultural activities in the watershed if necessary, deeming Lake Carmi a “lake in crisis”.

Over the past few weeks, the farmers in the Lake Carmi Watershed have been working with unbiased UVM Extension to pull together information to present in Montpelier.  This information clearly shows the amazing job this group is doing to reduce their impact on Lake Carmi.

On Thursday, April 12th from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. we will have an opportunity to present this information to Ag and Natural Resource Committees in a joint hearing in Montpelier.

We are asking FWA members join the hearing to support their fellow farmers in Lake Carmi.  You will not need to say anything – just be there for the others that will.

If you can attend please contact Jeff or Heather or email FarmersWatershedAllianceNWgmail.com ASAP – we would like to setup a carpool.

If you cannot attend but would like to watch, the FWA will be Live Streaming this meeting from the Franklin Grand Isle County Farmer’s Watershed Alliance Facebook page.

Tile Drainage Survey – UVM Extension NW Crops & Soils Team

Heather Darby and her UVM Extension Northwest Crops & Soils Team are evaluating how tile drainage has lessened financial and environmental risks to farmers.  We are asking all Vermont farmers to please participate in this survey, which is anonymous and completely voluntary.  It will take about 10 minutes, and the information will help their team gain a better understanding of the acreage and cropland impacted, as well as the conservation opportunities made available by installing drainage systems.

Click here https://bit.ly/2GenfnS to go directly to the survey, or go to the UVM Extension NW Crops & Soils program web site to view the cover letter and access the survey – www.uvm.edu/extension/cropsoil.  Thank you for your input!

 

2018 Precision Agriculture Forum

Highlights from the FWA’s 2018 Precision Agriculture Forum!

The Farmer’s Watershed Alliance hosted our first ever Comprehensive Precision Agriculture Forum on Friday, January 19th at the American Legion in St. Albans!  There were 60+ attendees comprised of farmers, custom operators, government officials, members of fellow organizations, and community members.  This event showcased the latest technology being used to plant seeds, fertilize fields, apply manure, harvest crops, and feed animals with a high degree of  accuracy while recording valuable data which can be used to manage impacts on natural resources while maximizing return on investment.  Precision agriculture technology is relatively new and underutilized on Vermont farms.  Collecting this data helps farmers and stakeholders make better and more precise plans for farmers and water quality, with the goal of conservation. The presentations were directed at meeting water quality regulations and improving farm profit through precision agriculture management.

We heard from both local and regional experts!  The day began with a ‘Precision Ag 101’ presentation from Erick Haas of Cazenovia Equipment Co. in NY.  His presentation highlighted different technologies through each cropping practice; tillage, planting, crop care, harvest, and data management – as well as the economic value of these technologies.  Next up was Dean James of Cotner Farms in PA, he is the Vice President of the Pennsylvania No-Till Alliance.  His presentation focused on Cotner Farms’ story.  They have roughly 30 years of experience collecting, interpreting, and applying reliable data through informed decision making and risk taking.

After a brief lunch break catered by Dairy Center, we spent the afternoon with a series of shorter presentations.  Savanna Crossman of Advanced Ag Alliance, NY presented on an ongoing project, ‘Optimizing Variable Rate Seeding in NYS’.   Next we heard from four of our own FWA Board Members!  Scott Magnan of Scott Magnan’s Custom Service presented on ‘Precision Manure Management’ and showed the attendees an interactive view of an AgLeader GPS display as if you were in the tractor on a field!  Tim Magnant of Bridgeman View Farm presented on his experience with precision ag from a small farm perspective, Larry Gervais of Gervais Family Farm presented on precision ag from a large farm perspective, Steve Hardy of L.D. Oliver Seed Co. presented on precision ag from a custom operator’s perspective, and Jeff Sanders of UVM Extension presented on equipment/funding available in Vermont.  Throughout the day informal Q&A’s were prompted and encouraged which gave attendees an opportunity to ask questions and discuss what they learned from the presentations.

We would like to thank our sponsors, and everyone who came out and helped make the day a fun and informative experience!  We hope to continue and expand this forum in the years to come.  If you would like more information or have any questions, please do not hesitate to connect with us via email at FarmersWatershedAllianceNW@gmail.com!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured Farmer: Darlene Reynolds, Crosswinds Dairy & Daughters, Alburgh, VT

To get to know the Farmer’s Watershed Alliance (FWA) membership, we are highlighting a member farmer and their good work!  Our featured farmer in this article is Darlene Reynolds.  Darlene is the Chair of the Farmer’s Watershed Alliance, as well as one of the founding members.  She farms with her husband, Newton Reynolds, at Crosswinds Dairy & Daughters in Alburgh.  They have been farming in Alburgh together since 1994.  They currently run a Medium Farm Operation (MFO).

I arrived on a Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m. and the farm was bustling.  Darlene had been up working since 3:30 a.m.!  She and Newton greeted me with excitement and immediately began to show me around their dairy farm.  My tour started at the main cow barns with explanations of the different methods they use to take care of cow comfort and health.

 

 

All of the cows at Crosswinds Dairy wear a pedometer on their ankle to monitor their health and condition.  The pedometer gives the Reynolds insight into how the cows are feeling.  Typically, if a cow takes more steps than average it is a sign she is in heat.  Cows in heat will see one of two specialists to determine if they are ready for in-vitro fertilization (artificial insemination).  For cows that have trouble getting pregnant through in-vitro, the Reynolds have a bull on site.  If a cow is taking fewer steps, she might be sick.  This allows the Reynolds to get the cows the attention they need as soon as possible.  For the cows that are taking fewer steps and might be sick, the Reynolds call one of their veterinarians that routinely stop on their farm for a special visit.

 

The Reynolds also provide sand bedding for the cows to sleep in (pictured above in the stalls) that is a similar to beach sand!  Darlene chose this option because she wants her cows to be as comfortable as possible.

“If you notice, none of our cows have bruises on their legs.”  Darlene said, gesturing to some of the cows in the stalls.

Cows can get bruised legs if they sleep on hard surfaces, such as rubber or concrete beds.  That is why farmers choose alternative options like sand beds and even water beds!  Darlene and Newton like knowing their cows are comfortable.  The sand in the beds gets changed about every 8 days to ensure it stays fresh.

 

Next, we walked outside to see a newer addition to Crosswinds Dairy – the manure pit.  The manure from the cow barns gets pumped out of the cow stalls and shoots into the pit.  It is a mixture of manure, sand, and saw dust.  Almost all the manure is recycled to be used as fertilizer on the corn fields.  Any extra gets used by friends of theirs and fellow farmers.  This farm has a nutrient management plan that tells them how much manure to apply on the fields – it is based on federal, state, and local clean water laws that regulate how manure is applied on cropland, so nutrients are absorbed by crops, not groundwater.  The manure pit is lined with cement walls and well-tiled to ensure it is secure.  When it was being constructed, it would have been deep enough to bury the cement truck being used to build it!  It is about 14 feet deep, with a stadium design.  The Reynolds received government grant funds to build the manure pit on their farm because it meets standards set for water quality and environmental protection in the state.

 

After walking the property and chatting with Darlene, I was able to ask her some more specific questions:

 

What are you most proud of?

“I’m proud to be [farming] here for 25 years and have made it!”  Darlene said, reflecting on the past couple of decades that have left dairy farmers of Vermont facing new, difficult challenges.  Darlene and Newton take a lot of pride in being able to stay farming and provide for their family, while adapting to the changing regulations and fluctuating milk prices.  Darlene shared how amazing it feels to help her family make such great progress.  Her grandmother could not read or write, and her mother taught herself to do so.  Darlene has a degree in social work.  Of Darlene and Newton’s four daughters (pictured below), one is still in high school, one will soon graduate with a B.A., another is attending Vermont Technical College, and the oldest graduated from Vermont Tech.  “We are building new roads every step of the way,” Darlene said.

Darlene is also extremely proud of her employees.  Working in the barn so much herself, Darlene’s full-time employees start to feel like family to her.  She likes to take the time to get to know her staff and learn about their personal goals.  She wants to inspire her crew to be the best they can be.  Darlene thinks of her farm as a stepping stone for her employees.  She encourages them to pursue ways to improve themselves and leave better than they came.  Her support has motivated workers to get their GED and other certifications that help propel them in their careers.

Last, but certainly not least, Darlene is proud of the care the farm gives to their cows. “You do it every day.  Take care of the animals,” she said.  One of the most rewarding aspects for Darlene is knowing that she is doing her best to give her animals a happy and healthy life.  She said she loves to, “take an animal that’s not feeling well and turn her into a beautiful lady.”

 

What do you want the non-farming community to know?

“Farmers are out there to produce a nice, healthy product.”  Crosswinds Dairy takes pride and responsibility in the dairy products their cow’s milk contribute to.  That is one of the main reasons why Darlene is so in-touch with and concentrated on individual cow’s health.  She noted, with the growing population of the world, “We [farmers] have to [be prepared to] feed the people of the world.”

Darlene said the majority of Vermont farmers want to make water quality improvements on their farms, and have been successfully working towards that goal.  But for many farmers this means making changes in both agricultural practices and infrastructure.  There needs to be funding and education opportunities readily available to farmers for a difference to be made.  She added that the negativity she sees in the media surrounding agriculture is disheartening for farmers, “water quality is not a simple task.”  It takes time to learn new practices, invest in and build infrastructure, and become educated on conservation practices/techniques that work in Vermont, and farmers need support.

Some of the notable water quality improvements completed at Crosswinds Dairy & Daughters:

  • Cement driveways
  • Manure pits to increase storage capacity
  • Buffer strips to reduce potential runoff
  • Cover cropping all corn fields to increase soil health and reduce potential runoff
  • Creating and following a state-approved Nutrient Management Plan
  • UV water pump for cows drinking water
  • Monitoring slope of the land for any potential runoff developments

 

Why do you farm?

Darlene farms every day for her family.  While Newton grew up in a farming family, Darlene did not come from a farming background.  Before joining Newton as co-operator and co-manager of the farm, she was a social worker.  Part of her decision influencing her transition from social worker to farmer came after her first daughter was born.  She made a conscious decision to be with her on the farm as they began raising a family.  Farming provided Darlene with a lifestyle that allowed her to work toward her ultimate goals to be happy, provide for her family, and give her four daughters the opportunities in life that they deserve.

 

Conservation Practices on Farms in St. Albans Bay

Thursday, September 7th, 2017 was the Conservation Practices on Farms in St. Albans Bay bus tour!  This event was a hosted by the Farmers Watershed Alliance, UVM Extension NW Crops & Soils Team, and the USDA NRCS.  There were approximately 30 attendees comprised of farmers, agency officials, community members, and local organization members.

The bus boarded at the UVM Extension Office in St. Albans.  The tour highlighted conservation agronomic practices being done on various sites around St. Albans Bay.  See some of the highlights below:

Brigham Road Site – No-till Corn into Harvest Cover Crop:  Our first stop began with hearing from John Thurgood and Sarah Lerose, both from the NRCS.  John viewed this event as a celebration!  He spoke of how in 2015 the NRCS, other agencies, and farmers came together to work on water quality issues.  “We wanted to make sure farmers who wanted to do something could.”   Referencing EQIP, funding pools, the 4 target watersheds (St. Albans Bay included), and developing a Watershed Action Plan.  Sarah emphasized the necessity to get the message across to the public that farmers are doing good things for water quality.  Heather Darby (second from the right) shared with the group how behind the corn harvest is due to weather conditions this season.  The weather is ~3 weeks behind schedule, making corn ~2 weeks away from harvest.  Having a late corn harvest will make cover crop establishment difficult.
Janes Road Site – No-till Corn into Sod:  These fields were grass fields, but the Longway’s wanted to convert them into corn fields.  They came in, hayed it off, and planted the corn directly into the grass.  They were able to reduce erosion and see soil savings because of this practice!  They also experimented with fertilizer.  The half of the field that had fertilizer looks better because it got more nitrogen.  It was noted that farmers who spread fertilizer a little later on this year had a better yield because the rain season had passed.  Heather added with that, “It’s the science of farming we’re all aware of, but the art of farming is different.”  Farmers need to be able to adapt their practices to weather and environmental stresses.  They need to have the resources available to re-learn when they see new practices come into play.
Corliss Road Site – Forage & Biomass Planting:  These were corn fields for 10+ years.  They decided to switch to forage & biomass fields through an EQIP program.  They harrowed last fall and again this spring, seeded down the third week of June, rolled it again, and were able to harvest twice!  The seed they used was a mix of alfalfa, red clover, orchard grass, and a few other varieties.   They have seen much less erosion since switching from corn.  There is also much less opportunity for nutrient run-off than before.  Forage & biomass fields are becoming increasingly popular in Vermont.  Someone asked if we are seeing less corn in Vermont as a result.  Jeff Sanders answered that typically we are rotating corn to new fields.  So there are not fewer corn acres in Vermont, just different acres.
Dunsmore Road Site – Roller Crimp No-till vs. Conventional:  These fields used the UVM ZRX Roller Crimper.  Parts of the fields are conventionally tilled, and parts are minimally tilled.  They also have experimented with cover cropping.  They put the roller on the planter earlier in the season to roll down the cover crops (pressures down the weeds).  Although, they had a carbon issue with the cover crops being left on the field.  The cover crops soaked up too much nitrogen, impacting the corn yield.  In Vermont, no-till is much more successful on non-organic farms than on organic farms.  This is because no-till is a lot more successful when combined with spraying to get rid of the cover crops and weeds.
Maquam Shore Road Site – No-till into Standing Cover Crop; Manure Injection:  We were able to see the UVM ZRX Roller Crimper!  This is a 6 row planter.  It has undergone quite a few modifications with Scott Magnan’s Custom Service to make it as efficient of a tool as possible for farmers.  Scott Magnan (featured speaking in the photo) explained a few of those modifications.  One is the hydrolic down pressure.  This feature applies pressure to row units and allows the user to either auto-adjust or adjust as they see fit.  Another modification is that the fertilizer application was switched from a squeeze pump to an electric pump.  With the electric pump it is much easier to know exactly how much is being applied.  Lastly, they added advanced seed-tube monitoring.  This feature takes the guessing game out of seeding.  A farmer can see if the machine is skipping seeds or double-seeding.  This gives farmers the ability to react to issues as they are happening.  This machine is one of the first in the county!  Farmers are able to rent this roller crimper and test it out on their fields before committing to buying expensive equipment on their own.  All of this is made possible through funding.
Lake Road Site – No-till Roller Crimp vs. Conventional:  This was the final stop of the bus tour.  This field was half no-till roller crimped and half conventional tillage.  On the no-till half, there was a heavy mat of rye which helped reduce erosion and hold in the moisture.  That half is filled with some of the best corn in the Bay this season!  Jeff Sanders (on the right) ended the tour remarking on how amazing it is that so many farms in the bay are practicing agronomic conservation in their own way.  “There’s a lot of different paths getting to the same place.”  All but 2 farmers in the area that could have signed up for an EQIP program have.  We need to make this profitable so that when the funding dries up farmers can and will continue to follow these practices.  “Without the cost share, this stuff would probably not be happening.”

 

2017 Summer Farm Meeting at Bridgeman View Farm

Thursday, August 17th was the 2017 Summer Farm Meeting at Tim and Martha Magnant’s farm, Bridgeman View Farm in Franklin, VT!  This event was hosted by the UVM Extension Northwest Crops and Soils Program (NWCS), Friends of Northern Lake Champlain (FNLC), and Farmer’s Watershed Alliance (FWA).  There were approximately 50 attendees comprised of community members, farmers, organization members, and state officials.

This year’s topics included conservation tillage practices such as no-till corn and interseeded cover crops, soil health, and precision agriculture.  Please see some of the highlights below:

Tim Magnant of Bridgeman View Farm:  The event began with Tim thanking everyone for coming out.  He shared how he enjoys being able to host educational opportunities for farmers and community members, and that he sees events like the 2017 Summer Farm Meeting as “a meeting of the minds”.  Tim stated that, “If it costs me anything, I get paid twice back for it.”
Jim Hershey – President of the Pennsylvania No-Till Alliance:  Jim gave a presentation on his trials/success in improving soil health through no-till practices and cover crops.  Jim is a farmer himself, and manages other farmer’s land in PA assisting in planting and nutrient management.  He noted that often poor water quality health is pointed at agriculture, so it is important for farmers to showcase the efforts they are making towards improving it.  Cover crops have a plethora of benefits when it comes to water quality!  They keep nutrients in the soil and out of the water.  The roots go into the soil, feeding microbes which recycle nutrients into the crops.  Healthy soil provides habitat for beneficial species such as earthworms.  They also soak up the sun which helps the soil retain moisture.  He encourages farmers to, “Try to keep your soil covered and something planted 365 days a year.”  He uses various seed blends including rye grass, clover, radish, oats, peas, and more.
Brian Zimmerman of BZ Manufacturing:  Brian has worked at BZ Manufacturing (a division of Hershey Farms) since 2006.  Brian designs, builds, and manages the equipment for Jim, such as the interseeder Tim has.  He spoke about how new precision agriculture technologies can be applied on older planters, and that there is a lot of customization available.  Brian has seen how long-term no-till combined with cover cropping can help reduce unevenness in corn fields.  His presentation included things to consider when planting cover crops, as well as different cover crop combinations they have found success with in PA.  Some things to consider: weather conditions, sunlight, control methods – can grow into weeds if not terminated in time, planter readiness – spikes can wrap, so using smooth disks or ‘sharktooth’ styles can help prevent wrapping.  Cover crop seeds to use: radish, rye grass, cow peas, black oats, triticale, hairy vetch, Blansa clover, crimson clover, barley, and Austrian winter peas.
Secretary of Agriculture Anson Tebbetts:  Secretary Tebbetts encouraged farmers to tell their story.  Doing environmentally positive projects on your farm can help public perception.  He expressed that the Agency is aware that since it has been a wet season, farmers might need extensions on things like spreading manure.  He said that the earlier farmers make these requests, the more likely him and his team will be able to give the variances through the state.  Secretary Tebbetts also shared that the Agency will be focusing on RAP (Required Agricultural Practices) education for small farmers.  “What we’re trying to do is do a ramp up on education before we get really into the certification part.”
Tim Magnant (right) & Jeffrey Sanders (left) at the Ben & Jerry’s Field:  This corn field has been no-till and interseeded for 3 years.  UVM Extension has done a lot of cover crop work/research on this field with their equipment.  The soil health has improved tremendously!  With the combination of cover crops and no-till, corn yields are higher than conventional corn BUT only if combined.  The yield is less than conventional corn if you use no-till without cover cropping.  So, in order to see an improvement you need to combine no-till and cover cropping.  While the cost of cover crops up-front can seem high (purchasing extra seed), Tim said it is worth it to him because he saves on fuel costs, herbicide costs, and time in the tractor seat.  Also, he finds harvesting easier when utilizing cover crops because they make the soil more solid, helping to hold up the tractor.  The UVM team has been experimenting with cover crop seed combinations, as well as coordinating planting time.
Lunch Break:  We enjoyed a lunch generously provided by Champlain Valley Equipment!  This gave folks time to meet one another and discuss the mornings activities.  We also got to hear some updates from the NRCS and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture.  We learned that, due to the efforts made by farmers, the phosphorus levels in the Lake Champlain basin have gone down!
Fay Benson – Cornell Cooperative Extension:  The Cornell Soil Health Lab gave a soil health demo which used a rain simulator (pictured above) on 5 different types of soil.   These soil types included a conventionally tilled corn field, a no-till corn field, a buffer strip, a continuously grazed pasture, and a grazed pasture that was rotated.  The simulation showed how the different types of soil retain water, filter water, produce runoff, and how much sediment is in the runoff they produce.  The front row of jars were there to catch the runoff, and the back row of jars caught water that filtered through the soil.  Ideally, the front jar should be nearly empty, and the back jar should be mostly full and clear to show that the soil properly absorbed and filtered the rain water.  Rachel Gilker of Ben & Jerry’s Caring Dairy was assisting Benson in the simulation and interacting with the crowd.  She shared the water retention benefits of adding organic matter to soil.  “You add 1% organic matter in an acre, you’ll hold another 20,000-25,000 gallons of water.”
Tim Magnant (left) & Scott Magnan (center):  The final activity on the agenda featured Precision Agriculture Technology on Bridgeman View Farm.  There are various types of precision agriculture technologies available.  Many farmers find use in manure injection, advanced seed tube monitoring on a corn planter, and more!  On Tim’s tractor, he and Scott Magnan’s Custom Service installed Auto-Steer.  Auto-steer gives Tim the ability to easily and accurately plant/spread in straight rows, even on a hilly field.  This technology uses GPS and GIS software so that a user no longer needs to rely on row markers.  Tim finds less stress when using spreaders.  This technology is extremely user-friendly and easy to learn.  It helps to not overlap rows.  Overlapping can lead to some parts of the field being over seeded/spread and other parts being missed.  The ability to make straight and precise rows saves a farmer time, money, and resources.

UVM Extension Northwest Crops and Soils Team 10th Annual Field Day!

Please come join us at Borderview Research Farm on July 27th for UVM Extension Northwest Crops and Soils Team 10th annual field day!  Please let us know if you can come by registering here online: www.regonline.com/2017cropsfieldday

Image may contain: outdoor