Drainage Contractor

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LICA’s View: Adjusting accordingly

An update on some recent events in LICA.

November 30, 2020  By Bob Clark II, LICA National president

The Michigan LICA field day was a chance to see the new automated water control structures being installed. Photo courtesy of LICA.

The Land Improvement Contractors of America (LICA) continues to operate on all cylinders during these challenging times. Although we did not have a national summer meeting as planned, that has not slowed LICA down. At the time of writing, we plan to have our national winter meeting on February 9 to 13, 2021 in San Antonio, TX. If things change, we will adjust accordingly.

In recent news, LICA recently updated its website and it’s worth a look. Sandhills Publishing has been a big help with that effort. Sandhills is also a relatively new associate member to the association.

LICA also continued to strengthen its relationships with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) with an updated memorandum of understanding (MOU) that will allow the two parties work together with greater effectiveness in the future. LICA also signed another MOU with the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) that will allow both groups to work more closely together as well. In addition, LICA is working with the Agricultural Drainage Management Coalition (ADMC) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), at the Undersecretary of Agriculture level, to ensure that conservation drainage best management practices (BMP) can be constructed across the broadest possible rural landscapes to help reach the USDA’s Agriculture Innovation Agenda (AIA). The agenda’s goals, succinctly, are to increase agricultural production by 40 percent while reducing agriculture’s footprint by 50 percent by 2050. A worthy challenge to say the least! Finally, LICA’s History of Farm Drainage book is nearly completed and should have the book published and available for the San Antonio meeting.

In other big news, LICA has hired a new legislative director, Nick Yaksich. Nick replaces John Peterson, who recently retired after long and distinguished partnership with LICA. I hope John and his wife Blanche can find the time in their busy schedules to make it to one of LICA’s summer and or winter meetings and wish them both all the best.


LICA and its many state chapters continue to work to help advance the next generation of best management practices. I had the opportunity to recently attend the Michigan LICA field day and witness, firsthand, the next generation of BMP being constructed just a few miles west of Lake Erie in the western Lake Erie Basin. On the site a massive tile-drainage water recycling system was constructed. The practice stores subsurface drainage water in a large pond on site to be used later in the growing season. This practice will improve field productivity and improve water quality outcomes, a win-win. Bigger more consistent yields and improved water quality outcomes can work together for the benefit of all. A special thanks is deserved by Tom Van Wagner for designing the project in conjunction with all the Michigan LICA members, and help from their associate members, who helped construct the project. One big team effort. It was also my first chance to see the new automated water control structures being installed.

I hope this update finds everyone with plenty of work and your family and friends healthy. Please be safe at work. Keep your distance, wear your masks and wash those hands!

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