Drainage water management (DWM) offers great promise to improve environmental performance and farm economic viability on tile-drained cropland. In-field experience and on-farm research have demonstrated crop production and nutrient loading reductions can be compatible goals when DWM is applied in a conservation systems approach. In the Upper Mississippi River and Great Lakes Basins alone, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has estimated 29.2 million cropland acres are potentially suitable for the implementation of DWM. The absence of DWM on these cropland acres represents an opportunity forgone for both farmers and the environment. That is, water quality benefits are not optimized, crop production and resilience are diminished, and full farm income potentials are not achieved absent the implementation of DWM using a conservation systems approach. Adoption
Reflecting on 2020, as strange as it was, it was also a successful year for the Agricultural Drainage Management Coalition. Membership support has continued to increase and has allowed ADMC to build valuable relationships and to educate partners throughout the Midwest and Northern Plains.
2020 has been, well 2020. Pandemic news aside, agriculture is dealing with another year of weather extremes. I was in the middle of a covid mandated Zoom call when it was cut short by a derecho event striking central Iowa. Fortunately, we came out only losing a few branches and had power back after 12 hours. However, this weather extreme, damaged an estimated 3.57 million acres of corn and 2.5 million acres of soybeans in Iowa. It also devastated Iowa’s 2nd largest city, Cedar Rapids, and many others. Of course, the derecho was not on anyone’s mind in July, but the drought conditions spreading throughout the Midwest have been.
Director’s Desk I would first like to thank all of ADMC’s returning members for your continued support. The important mission of ADMC could not be accomplished without you. Jeanne has been busy receiving and processing renewals throughout the spring, and we appear to be ahead of schedule with dues this year. We continue to try to strengthen ADMC’s standing through both retaining and recruiting members, as well as pursuing contracts and grants that align our mission. Please read the following updates on ADMC’s contracted projects and collaborations. Contracted Projects Polk County Saturated Buffer Project The Polk County (Iowa) saturated buffer project has brought together the Polk SWCD, Polk County, NRCS, FSA, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, and ADMC as partners with the goal
ADMC has entered into an agreement with the Polk Soil and Water Conservation District, central Iowa to facilitate the implementation of a minimum of 25 saturated buffers by December of 2020. The saturated buffers will be located within five small HUC 12 watersheds in the county.
Director’s Desk This month’s newsletter starts off on a somber note as Paul Sweeney passed away after his battle with cancer. Paul was a long time ADMC board member who represented Ecosystem Services Exchange. I knew Paul both from his time with NRCS as well as with ESE. Paul made huge contributions to water conservation throughout the Midwest. It was an honor to get to work will Paul and we hope that his family and loved ones find peace during this difficult time. The Plastic Pipe Institute, ADMC platinum member, hosted a panel discussion on agricultural drainage issues at its semi-annual meeting in Milwuakee, WI. Panelists included: Bob Clark, President of Clark Farm Drainage; Bruce Clevenger, Associate Professor & Extension Educator from the Ohio State