Isanti Soil & Water Conservation District

 

Seeing Results

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When you practice cover crops it can take time to see results. But Nicholas Alderink has noticed a difference in his soil in just 3 seasons! He is a part of the Isanti SWCD cover crop program. According to Nick, his soil already has more moisture retention and organic matter. That means a healthier soil to grow better crops!

 

“Conservation is for all of us”

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Kevin Schlipp and his wife have been conservation minded for years. Therefore, when they started learning about cover crops in farmer magazines and from long time practicer Dave Medvecky (part of the Isanti SWCD board), they decided to try them. Kevin has been using cover crops for two years now, and joined the Isanti SWCD Cover Crop Program last year.

Kevin uses a cover crop mix of buckwheat, crimson clover, radish, winter peas, and some soybeans. He chose his mix using the advice of Dave and the NRCS and SWCD staff. When the buckwheat is in bloom the farm is a rolling field of flowers that attracts many bees. However, Kevin’s favorite benefit of the cover crops are not the bumbling bees on his property. Instead, he has noticed “very few weeds breaking out and coming through once the cover crop has been established.” This saves him time, money and chemicals. The weed protection of cover crops encourages Kevin to keep using them, as he says, “If I can get by with using less chemicals that is a motivating factor for me.”

When Kevin was asked why cover crops and conservation was important to him, he responded immediately: “Well, conservation is for all of us.” Cover crops improve soil health and water quality which benefits both the farmer and the environment.

 

A New Start for Cover Crops

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Jake Pohl has been farming his entire life. Now, he’s adding cover crops to his fields. Jake is a part of the Isanti SWCD Cover Crop Program. He has just under 100 acres of buckwheat, radishes and winter peas that will help keep his soil and nutrients in place.

“I like the concept of cover cropping. I would like to do more, especially if there are programs for it.”

This is Jake’s first year doing cover crops with the program. However, his uncle has been doing it for years. Jake is hoping his cover crops will help break up some of the compaction and build up the topsoil. Hopefully, he will be able to do less tillage too. Luckily, the Isanti SWCD has programs for farmers to improve soil health, and even have a no-till drill for rent.

“I think any way you can better the ground is beneficial, and to grow better crops or just soil health is huge.”

Jake is just one of the many farmers in Isanti County practicing cover crops. They have been shown to improve water quality and soil health. As Jake continues to use the Isanti SWCD’s agriculture resources he will achieve his goal of bettering his soil while also protecting natural resources.

What is in this section: 

Cover Crops

Minnesota Agriculture Water Quality Certification Program (MAWQCP)

Ecosystem Services Market Consortium 

Drill Rental

Buffers

Ag Best Management Practices (AgBMP) Loan Program

Free Conservation Planning Assistance available for residents in North Branch and Oxford Townships

State Cost-Share Program

Conservation Easements

Federal and USDA Programs (Conservation Planning, EQIP, CRP, CSP)

Helpful Resources

 

 

Other program information:

Cover Crop Demonstration Plot Program:

Cover crop information from the Minnesota Soil Health Coalition 

Cover crop demonstration plots from the NRCS

 

Green Lake Nutrient Reduction Program:

The Isanti SWCD is looking to improve the health of Green Lake by reducing the amount of nutrients going into the lake. Excess phosphorus is leading to algae blooms and decreasing the water quality. In most cases our program can cover 100% of the cost to install a conservation project. The projects that we can fund include cover crops, filter strips, grassed waterways, water and sediment control basins, wetland restorations and reduced till/no-till. 

If you are interested in helping out please contact Matthew Remer at: 763-689-3271 or mremer@isantiswcd.org.

Eligible areas are shaded in gray below. 

319 Area