Water quality video showcases corn farmers' efforts to conserve, grow
Water issues are always at the forefront of a farmer’s mind.
To help corn farmers learn ways to enhance water quality on their farms, the National Corn Growers Association offers a video and an interactive educational module regarding water quality management.
The video, titled “Driving Change,” showcases NCGA members describing practices they are implementing to enhance water quality on their farms and in their area. Kansas Corn Commissioner Ken McCauley, White Cloud, is one of the farmers featured on the video. The 30-minute Water Issues Learning Module was developed to help farmers better understand water quality issues and best practices.
The Kansas Corn Commission has been involved in water quality and water quantity efforts since it was created in 1977. Through corn checkoff program dollars, KCC has funded projects including research-based Best Management Practices for atrazine, irrigation with limited water, irrigation practices with drought tolerant varieties, vertical tillage, irrigation efficiency and no-till practices. The KCC projects are funded through Kansas State University, which uses the research to improve farming methods to help growers manage water quantity and improve water quality.
The farmers who serve on NCGA board and action teams have led the effort to improve water quality and water quantity, according to McCauley who is co-chair of the National Initiative for Sustainable Agriculture and featured as a speaker in the NCGA video.
In the video, McCauley explains how NCGA’s media efforts have helped bridge the gap between those who understand production agriculture techniques and those who may not. He pointed out that even non-irrigated corn farmers are careful to manage the water they receive from rainfall.
“We think of water management a lot this time of year because it’s getting dry,” McCauley said. “If you manage the soil moisture you are managing water the same as a person who irrigates.”
The NCGA video and its other online tools reveal the major benefits in using best management practices and stress the importance of becoming knowledgeable about issues related to water quality and use at local, state and regional levels. It also helps farmers learn regulatory requirements and understand key elements of the Clean Water Act.
“The video developed by NCGA shows water quality and quantity production practices our growers are using,” Kansas Corn communications director Sue Schulte said. “The learning module is an excellent tool for farmers and others who are interested in water issues on the farm.”