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SDSU Extension News

SDSU Extension News

SDSU Seeks Farmers & Ranchers to Participate in the Soil Resiliency & Crop Insurance Project


SDSU Extension Service - September 26, 2018

BROOKINGS, S.D. - Researchers with the South Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station at SDSU are working with SDSU Extension, faculty and staff on a study to help determine the long-term economic benefits of conservation practices, such as no-till, cover crops and diverse crop rotation, to South Dakota's agriculture producers and citizens in general.

They need 100 South Dakota producers to participate in the study.

The results from the interdisciplinary study will be used by policy makers as well as SDSU Extension and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) staff to aid in the development of efficient, research and market-based programming.

"Producers are making management changes to their operations in the hope of increasing yields and reducing yield variation year-to-year by implementing different conservation practices," said Heather Gessner, SDSU Extension Livestock Business Management Field Specialist. "If the implementation of these practices are proven to limit yield variance, especially in years of drought or excess moisture, then policy changes could be presented to the Risk Management Agency (RMA), which is the agency that administers federal crop insurance, and potentially reduce insurance premiums on fields where conservation practice has been implemented."

Gessner is among a group of collaborators involved in this interdisciplinary project which is led by Deepthi Kolady, SDSU Assistant Professor, Department of Economics. Other collaborators include: Matthew Diersen, Professor & SDSU Extension Risk/Business Management Specialist and Joy Scaria, Assistant Professor, South Dakota State University Veterinary & Biomedical Sciences Department.

The project is funded through a USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) grant.

We need you!
The team is looking for South Dakota farmers and ranchers with more than 180 acres of cropland to participate.

To be effective, the study needs both adopters and non-adopters of conservation practices, as well as participants who implement different combination of practices.

"Basically, whether a farmer or rancher has been implementing a practice for several years or has just started, or has never implemented a conservation practice, the study can utilize their field data," Gessner explained.

$900 worth of soil sampling conducted
This is a three-year study, which will begin with soil sampling spring 2019. Each year of the study, soil health and soil microbial health tests will be completed.

Study participants will receive approximately $900 worth of soil data from the field enrolled in the project. The labor for collecting soil samples will be completed by SDSU faculty or staff. Landowners are welcome to be present when samples are taken, but their presence is not required.

Conventional as well as conservation practice adopters are needed.

"If a farmer has been considering the use of a conservation practice, such as, but not limited to, no-till or cover crops, and wants to know if there is an economic benefit or change in soil health, they would be a good fit for this study," Gessner said. "If a farmer has already adopted a conservation practice on their field, they would also be a good fit for the study."

Data is confidential
The study only requires a small amount of field data, including:

Yield history
Conservation practice information

All data collected will remain confidential. When the data and analysis are presented, landowners will not be linked to the data by their name, title or any other identifying item.

The pilot phase of this study was funded by the South Dakota Oil Seeds Council and completed during the 2017-2018 growing season. Participants in the study's first phase have the following to say about the experience:

"Report looks good and very interesting. It shows things I need to continue to improve. Yes, I would like to continue with the study."

"Thank you for sharing these results. Quite interesting and I look forward to continued participation in your project."

To learn more
To learn more about this study or to sign up, contact Gessner at 605-782-3290 or [email protected]



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