Reflections from the 2021 ADMC Annual Meeting

The ADMC annual meeting, hosted by ISG Inc., was held in Bloomington, MN. on Wednesday October 27th. It was great to be able to meet in person and I do not think there is a way to have come out of the meeting and without being energized or enthusiastic about the future of water management. ADMC and its members have had an active year as discussions ranged from how to increase value to landowners in the Red River Valley while incorporating constructed wetlands to innovative uses of sub-irrigation in the Southeast United States. ADMC and its members also discussed next level projects that moved conservation drainage practices beyond demonstration and towards scalable implementation.

ADMC along with LICA looks to bring a call to action forward, which was developed by the Conservation Drainage Network Growth Subcommittee led by Tom Christensen of Ecosystems Services Exchange, to engage USDA for water management and conservation drainage implementation through a series of actionable recommendations. USDA needs to engage in water management as it will take a concerted private-public partnership effort to provide technical and financial assistance to farmers while reducing the transaction costs to the agencies and landowners involved.

Kent Rodelius, ADMC President, reported that ADMC has been able to expand its network by building relationships with those in the agricultural industry outside of the drainage sector and as well as with organizations leading in conservation such as The Nature Conservancy and the Soil and Water Conservation Society. ADMC and its members are viewed as a reliable source when it comes the science of the conservation drainage practices and how to get the practices implemented. Moving forward ADMC is looking to make more of a connection with growers and the organizations to help drive demand for the practices that the drainage contractors can deliver.

ADMC is actively looking for opportunities to facilitate field-scale research on the economics behind conservation drainage practices. The advent of automated drainage water management and the potential of sub-irrigation systems can lead to returns to the farmer while also providing water quality and quantity benefits. The returns to the farmer need to be documented in order to drive demand for the practice on the estimated 30+ million suitable acres in the Midwest alone.

As always, ADMC will continue to be opportunistic in the programs that it works to deliver while also expanding its membership base. If you or your company are interested in becoming members, please do not hesitate to reach out at [email protected] or click here for more information.