DRBA and farmers have a natural connection - our mission is to protect our water and farmers need good, clean water for healthy crops and livestock. Farmers are often called stewards because of the close connection they have with the natural resources. Their livelihood depends on their ability to use the land and water and it's in the farmers’ best interest to help protect the both because they rely on it.
DRBA works in partnership with local farmers and assists with conservation, preservation and best practices:
Farmers can engage in many different conservation practices that help to preserve the environment. Conservation refers to using less resources and having less of an effect on the land. Practices that farmers use on their farms might include no-till, putting fences around streams, planting cover crops, collecting water runoff, and integrating crop and pasture rotations.
For a list of more conservation practices and programs, visit the United States Department of Agriculture’s Conservation Programs Page.
Preservation in agriculture is another very important form of stewardship. Preservation helps to keep things the way they are, to keep them for future generations and also improve their quality. Farmers can practice preservation in various ways.
The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is a voluntary program for farmers where land is taken out of agricultural production. This land is then left to grow naturally without any type of crop being planted on it. The purpose of CRP is to allow land to build up soil, increase productivity and decrease topsoil erosion. By protecting these areas, wildlife such as birds are able to populate an area and increase the diversity. Native species of plants can also establish themselves in these fields.
There are many farmland preservation programs across the United States, and these programs provide the opportunity to ensure that farmers will own the land for centuries to come. It is becoming increasingly important to protect farmland because many new houses and shopping malls are being built on land that was once farmed. If farms are not preserved, the land could be lost to buildings forever, and people would lose a vital source of food.
Using less resources and developing new ideas of how to manage the resources on a farm has become one way for farmers to help protect the land. Farmers are also using moderation when it comes to putting nutrients on the land. Farmers realize that putting too much pesticide, insecticide and fertilizer on a field does not help the crops and also can harm the environment. New methods of application have been developed for farmers to decrease their impact on the land.