Requirements like buffer zones and on-farm water treatment will change the drainage industry for the better.
It was recently announced that nearly all producers in Minnesota will now have to install buffers along drainage ditches.
According to the Commissioner of the Minnesota department of Agriculture, Dave Frederickson, nearly 300,000 acres of farmland is covered in the state’s Agriculture Water Certification Program so far, a number they expect to rise to half a million acres by the time the buffer zone rule comes into effect on November 1, 2018. While some worry about paperwork and the many regulations associated with these types of incoming laws, drainage contractors will need to adapt and move forward.
Although some states show no sign of implementing buffer rules or requiring water treatment, agricultural runoff continues to be an issue and a common thread at council and conservation meetings across the country. It is likely only a matter of time before we see more rules and regulations put in place.
As technology and environmental law continue to change, so too will the role of the drainage contractor. This shift will require drainage contractors to continue to pursue education and smart investments in innovation in order to keep the industry current.
With environmental concerns being pushed to the forefront, some drainage contractors have begun taking on the additional role of being a reliable source for producers, by providing knowledge about the latest technologies and productivity advancements and how these can lesson environmental impacts of agricultural runoff.
While many in the industry will spend the off-season conducting machinery maintenance, networking at state LICA conventions or taking in some much-needed R&R, others will use the time to continue their education, learning more about the aspects of agriculture drainage, including installing on-farm water treatment, like bioreactors or saturated buffer strips.
To get a head start, check out our cover story, Capturing Nitrogen, which showcases research on establishing installation guidelines for saturated buffer strips. Not only do saturated buffers prevent nitrogen loss, but they help keep the expensive nutrients stay where they need to – in the ground, helping crops flourish.
And so, with all the discussion around changing laws and regulations, one must remember – with change comes opportunity – an opportunity to learn, and in turn, an opportunity to teach producers about the broadening role of the drainage contractor, a theme I’m sure will be made apparent within LICA’s new project.
The association will explore and highlight the history of agricultural drainage in the U.S. and are calling upon contractors to submit their own little piece of history. (Read more!)
Don’t forget, Drainage Contractor wants to hear from you. What would like to know more about? What are the current limitations or opportunities you’re facing? Let us know and we’ll be sure to explore these issues with industry stakeholders, researchers and other drainage professionals.
Stay in touch through our Twitter feed and Facebook page and be sure you’re subscribed to our E-newsletters you don’t miss out on the latest industry news, views and research.
Timewell Drainage to open facility in AlabamaTimewell Drainage Products is expanding again, taking steps to open…
Marquardt Farm Drainage celebrates 50 years in OntarioMarquardt Farm Drainage is celebrating 50 years of operation in…
Proposed bills would fund runoff reduction efforts for Lake ErieAs another toxic algae season approaches, Ohio lawmakers are turning…
Eagle Trenchers releases the Eagle 9700Eagle Trenchers has released the Eagle 9700, featuring a Cat Tier…
Canada's Farm Progress Show
June 20-22, 2018
National LICA Summer Meeting
July 9-15, 2018
Empire Farm Days
August 7-9, 2018
The International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage 2018 Conference
August 12-17, 2018
Iowa Drainage School
August 21-23, 2018