The Roundup -

New Incentives for No Till Sugarbeets Available in 2017


December 27, 2017 | View PDF

No till beets near Nesson Valley, ND (Photo submitted)

More money for less work simply doesn't sound American. But when it comes to conservation practices, offering an incentive to give the plowshare a break can be a profitable investment for everyone involved.

Jamie Selting, District Conservationist at the NRCS in Sidney, is helping local farmers utilize two programs which provide a monetary incentive to try economically viable stewardship practices. "In the past there's been a customary way of farming which involves a lot of tillage," Selting said. "But if you can reduce tillage operations over the field, that can save you money in fuel, labor, and machinery costs. It's fairly attractive to look at something which can reduce all those input costs."

This is where the two programs begin to differ. The Environmental Quality Incentives Program, or EQUIP, caters to farmers who have not yet started reduced tilling practices. This program offers farmers a monetary incentive of roughly $15 per acre. Although there is a cap on the amount of acres EQUIP will pay for, Selting believes that farmers will see the benefits reduced tillage can bring.

"The more tillage you do, the more you destroy the habitat of the soil," Selting said. "It harms its ability to take in water and hold fertilizers. Basically, the less you can disturb the soil, the better the biology, and the better the soil will work for you."

The other avenue, called the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), is for farmers already involved in various conservation practices. CSP actually provides rewards for work farmers have already done, but it also challenges them to do more. "Once they've started some kind of conservation practice, they've been through the thought process and believe in the process," Selting said. "They know where they want to go. They've adopted the concept."

This is why there are two programs offered. Both move towards reduced tillage and offer a carrot instead of a stick, but they are tailored to the needs of farmers depending on how far along their conservation practices are.

Applications are accepted year round, are statewide, and available for any cropping system. But, as Selting notes, "It's a competitive process and everyone puts an application in and we work with them to develop a conservation plan. Applications with the highest environmental benefits are awarded the contracts."

Selting encourages farmers to look into reduced tillage for a variety of reasons and hopes producers will continue to see benefit from the practice for many years to come. "The future is, on dry land and irrigated, moving towards reduced tillage systems," Selting said.

For more information, producers can go to the NRCS website, or their county USDA service center.


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