The Fillmore Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) provides many services to livestock producers, many of which are free of charge. The technical and financial assistance from the SWCD can help improve the efficiency of a farming operation, maintain soil productivity, and improve water quality.
• Nutrient/Manure Management: John Boyum is the SWCD Nutrient Management Specialist. He provides assistance to farmers in five counties to prepare manure and nutrient management plans to more efficiently utilize the nutrients in livestock manure. He is also coordinating several on-farm plots to demonstrate nitrogen management tools for more efficient use of nitrogen fertilizer.
• Feedlot Management: Anne Koliha, Engineering Technician, assists producers with feedlot projects to reduce runoff and better manage manure using both engineered and non-engineered practices. Access to free engineering services is available through the SWCD.
• Soil Health: Dean Thomas, Area Soil Health Technician, serves producers in 11 counties and provides assistance with grazing plans, cover crops and other soil health practices. Those practices can be tailored to the individual operation, and cost share or incentive payments may be available for implementing them.
• Low interest loans: Anne Koliha is the main contact person for the Ag Best Management Practices Loan Program, which offers 3% loans for water quality practices, such as manure handling systems and equipment, septic system and well upgrades, no till equipment, variable rate technology and conservation practices. Loans must approved by the SWCD before purchases are made or practices are installed. The applicant then has the loan processed through the lender of their choice, choosing from several participating local lenders.
• Soil conservation practices: Rick Grooters and Doug Keene, Conservation Technicians, provide technical assistance for the installation of grassed waterways, terraces, ponds and other practices that reduce soil erosion and water runoff. They have over 65 years of combined experience. Cost share and incentives are available for many practices through state and federal funding sources.