Farmers broadcast soil health PSAs across the Southern Plains

By Beth Mason

The USDA Southern Plains Climate Hub, in partnership with Redlands Community College and NRCS, has developed a series of radio Public Service Announcements (PSAs) for farmers on the benefits of using soil health practices. This outreach effort also includes The Southern Plains Podcast; recent episodes share information on USDA’s response to Hurricane Harvey and recent fires, and how individuals can apply for assistance.

Below are short bios on each of the participants and a link to their PSAs. You may also remember that three soil health PSAs from Oklahoma were posted to NACD’s website in April 2017.

Steve Pope is a sixth-generation western Oklahoma farmer and rancher. He has been no-tilling for over 13 years and incorporates cover crops and grazing into his cropping systems. Steve participates in USDA conservation programs such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP).

Jimmy Emmons (who is also a NACD Soil Health Champion) is a life-long farmer and rancher from Leedey, Oklahoma. A local conservation district board member and a past president of the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts (OACD), Jimmy knows the importance of conserving our soil, water, air, and wildlife habitats while working to protect the bottom lines of agriculture producers.

Grant Victor is a northeast Oklahoma producer and the winner of the 2016 Outstanding Landowner Award from the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts and the Nature Conservancy of Oklahoma. A life-long resident of Afton, Oklahoma, Grant uses soil health practices to improve productivity on his land while controlling run-off and soil erosion.

A farmer and rancher from Norton, Kansas, Rusty Miller understands the importance of controlling erosion and increasing soil moisture.  Rusty incorporates cover crops and grazing into his cropping systems to help increase the health of his soil and improve his bottom line by reducing fuel costs and increasing fertilizer efficiency.

Michael Thompson is a farmer and rancher from Almena, Kansas. Michael, along with his father Richard and brother Brian, operate Thompson Farm & Ranch LLC. The farm is comprised of wheat, corn, oats, and barley acreage in Norton County, Kansas, and Furnas County, Nebraska, and his cow/calf operation relies on native range grazing and diverse cover crops.

Lance Feikert is a fifth-generation farmer and rancher from Bucklin, Kansas. He raises wheat, milo, and soybeans on dryland and irrigated acres. He also utilizes cattle in his operation to better utilize crops and encourage better soil health. With less water available to pump each year, many of his irrigated fields are becoming more like their dryland counterparts. No-till helps him make the most of limited resources by boosting his soil’s biology and increasing water infiltration.

Beth Mason is NACD’s North Central representative and staff lead on the association’s Soil Health Champions Network. She can be reached by email at beth-mason@nacdnet.org.

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