The Genesee Conservation District is proud to offer a diverse approach to conservation in both urban and rural settings. Today, we are going to look at an example of conservation agriculture at work with a local, rural farm. This project was completed in partnership with Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), Conservation District staff and Jennings Farms – which also happens to be my family’s farm.
I, Morgan, am lucky enough to be both a District staff member and a part of Jennings Farms. Our family has a vested interest in improving agricultural practices to increase productivity and to ensure the long-term health of the soil for future generations.
Field staff with NRCS and the District help landowners identify conservation opportunities on their land based on their personal goals and interests to address resource concerns. These concerns can range from soil erosion in an ag field to forestry management and wildlife. There are four main practices planned and implemented on this 96-acre parcel. Each represents the relationship between agriculture, wildlife and people.
Farming comes first as a business and a lifestyle for us. This particular farm tends to hold water and has a ravine that runs through the center that flows water from one wood lot to another. This movement of water causes erosion. In past years, the ravine was left unplanted because there was too much water standing in the spring. We installed a grassed waterway through the ravine to control the erosion and filter the runoff.
The grassed waterway directly ties into the next practice - a field border. Field borders can be very diverse but serve many of the same purposes. Filtration to protect water quality, erosion control, and wildlife benefit are a few of the resource concerns that we were personally interested in investing in. The mix chosen includes forbs for wildlife nutrition and grasses that grow tall enough to serve as brood-rearing habitat for birds and cover for fawns.
We are lucky that so many of our interests converge in one space and that we are able to care for them. Working with conservation organizations allows us to have professional guidance and confidence in our management decisions.
Thank you to the Genesee Conservation District and NRCS staff for their involvement in these projects and sustainable agriculture developments. It is exciting to see positive changes happening on this farm and we hope to implement more in the future.
If you are interested in learning more about what financial assistance conservation programs are available for your farms, please contact the office at 810-230-8766.