Sam Newsom and his peers who work with him on the board of directors of the Delta Conservation Demonstration Center say conservation on a working farm should not be a point to reach as much as it is a process to farm by.
A clear conservation goal should be developed for each farm and then everything done on the farm throughout the year should support this conservation effort. The DCDC has a 10-year farm plan to optimize every possible method of conserving land, water, fuel, air emission, soil residue and sediment while maintaining and increasing yields.
The most logical place to start such a long-term plan is on a field-by-field basis including the headquarters.
Conservation is like farm hygiene: keeping things clean, neat and in order is a first step in developing a conservation mentality. The second step is to not think entirely about yourself. Always be thinking about the downstream neighbor and how your farming practices can adversely or positively affect his or her operation.
Most Delta farmers know their neighbors and have great respect for them. We understand the stress and uncontrollable factors that govern our lives. Remembering what you do to help yourself also helps your neighbor make the effort to switch to conservation farming — taking on a new definition of “environmentally friendly.”
When everyone involved in agriculture starts considering their neighbors as much as themselves, soil will stop leaving our farms and our water will be clear again.
DCDC director, Hiram Boone
P.O. Box 411, Metcalfe, MS 38760