The Missouri Department of Natural Resources Soil and Water Conservation Program (SWCD) provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural landowners for conservation practices, which are available through the state cost-share program. These cost-share programs are used to install soil and water conservation practices such as retaining topsoil, developing the best use of soil and water resources, installing a rotational grazing system to benefit livestock, irrigation management, recycle animal waste and protecting groundwater.
According to the SWCD’s website, conservation practices can save landowners time and money and increase a farm’s production while protecting the overall natural environment of the state. Landowners can receive up to 75 percent cost-share to install practices through their local district.
The program focuses on seven cost-share practices that local farms may be eligible for assistance.
Sensitive areas are areas of agricultural land where current management has impacted erosion, surface water and groundwater.
• For the protection of water quality in streams, you can: plant grass buffers or woody species along the edges of crop fields or below cropland to trap runoff; plant trees or shrubs to reduce wind erosion; exclude livestock from streams and place large stones or anchored cedar trees to eroding streambanks. To protect groundwater, you can: establish buffers or exclusion around sinkholes; create spring collection points for livestock use and fill and seal abandoned wells.
Sheet, Rill and Gully Erosion
Sheet, rill and gully erosion is the unwanted removal of soil from the land surface or through incised channels by the action of rainfall and runoff.
• If you see problems like this on your farm, you could: establish a good vegetative cover to stabilize the soil; build terraces to reduce the erosive force of water; use a no-till system; plant trees and shrubs at the edge of fields to help with wind erosion; build a pond to catch sediment; develop diversions to direct rainwater and plant sod-forming grasses to efficiently transport rainfall.
Some irrigation systems do not distribute water evenly causing excessive runoff and use of water.
• The cost-share practices in this concern will assist you in efficiently and uniformly applying water, applying the appropriate amount of nutrients and chemicals and conserving water.
Nutrient and Pest Management
The runoff from improper nutrient and pest management practices can affect water quality.
• To prevent excessive chemical runoff, you can: adopt new management techniques and/or technologies for applying commercial fertilizer, pesticide or herbicide; properly use manure as a plant nutrient source and move excess manure from areas saturated with nutrients to land where they are needed.
Woodland erosion is caused by the removal of soil or vegetation through livestock trampling or improper tree harvesting.
• To protect woodlands and water from the impacts of livestock or recover an already damaged area, you can: plant trees and shrubs; install fence to exclude livestock; ensure that timber harvest operations use proper construction of logging roads and stream crossings and correct and control gully erosion through proper timber harvest practices.
Animal Waste Management
The improper management of animal waste can affect both water and air quality.
• To protect the quality of water and air on your land, you can collect, control and manage your agricultural waste, manure and litter; safely dispose of livestock and poultry carcasses and construct a composting facility to break down animal waste to be used to improve soil fertility and crop production.
The steady use of an area by livestock can cause erosion problems and affect water quality.
• You can make the best use of soil and water resources by: improving the vegetative cover on pastures; and developing a planned grazing system that may include developing water sources and water distribution, fencing to construct paddocks, lime to manage the pH of the soil and the interseeding of legumes.
Get Started Today
Find your local soil and water conservation district office by calling 800-361-4827 or visit ozarksfn.com for online information.