Maintaining healthy and productive soil topic of seminar

Authored by Jim Langham on Sep 5, 2012

Farmers from throughout the county gathered at the Dan Abnet farm for this year's annual Adams County Soil and Water Annual Field Day.
This year's event included a combination of Adams County Soil and Water Conservation District, Upper Wabash Valley Basin Commission and St. Mary's River Watershed Project.
"The purpose of this is promoting soil and water health and quality," said Katy Stoller, resource specialist for the Indiana Department of State Agriculture.
Emphasis at the seminar included soil health demonstrations, no-till use of cover crops and soil quality. There was also discussion concerning cover crop choices, precision planting and crop production. The seminar was also permitted to count as credit for those working on their PAPR credit pesticide applicator.
Other topics included seeding a cover crop, nutrient management, environmentally friendly transitioning to no-till, pasture management techniques and which grass to plant.
This year's event was hosted by Dan and Brad Abnet.
Dan Abnet has been raising 600 acres of corn, soybeans and wheat full time since 1996. Along with his farrow to finish hogs, he has been taking steps to manage his farm, not only more efficiently, but also with a greater focus on the environment. Taking advantage of cost share programs, he uses no-till and cover crops on many of his acres to build and protect soil health.
Brad Abnet oversees the management of a 25 head heard of beef cattle. Since converting row crop ground to permanent pasture with help of cost share programs, prepared for rotation grazing system that allows them to be pastured for much of the year. Brad has recently graduated from OSU with degrees in crop production and beef and sheep production and is back to assist on the farm.
Those present were given information from the Lower St. Marys River Basin which takes in 240,366 acres in northeast Indiana.
The project goals include:
_Reduce sediment in all monitored streams to meet a level of 30mg/I by 2028
_Reduce amount of trash/debris in the watershed by 50 percent by 2028
_Reduce Atrazine levels to meet a level of 3.00 ug/I (ppb) in all monitored streams by 2028
_Reduce levels of E. coli to meet IDEM water quality standards (235 cfu/100ml)
_Reduce levels of nutrients to meet levels set forth by the TMDL: Nitrogen (10mg/I) Phosphorus (0.30 mg./I) by 2028.
_Reduce Ammonia levels so as not to extend Criterion Continuous Concentration by 2028
_Significantly reduce storm water runoff and activity in Regulatory Flood Hazard Area in order to reduce severity and impacts of flooding by 2028.
_Increase public awareness and participation by 50 percent by 2028.
Those present also learned that the Upper Wabash River Valley Basin Commission has decided to focus on goals that improve both water quality issues and water quantity issues in the Upper Wabash River watershed.
Goals of the Basin Commission include improving water quality to meet Indiana water quality targets and reduce damages associated with water quality in the Wabash River watershed, reduce in-stream and private property damages and promote application and participation to implement BMPs throughout the watershed in an effort to remove 303(d) segment listings and impairments in the basin.
Other goals include improving water quality targets and reduce damages associated with water quantity in the Wabash River watershed through basin-wide land use planning and ordinance development for the protection of agricultural activities and floodplain management and to remove 303(d) segment listings and impairments within the Upper Wabash River Basin due to E. coli and nutrient concentrations through proper agricultural nutrient management and on-site household wastewater treatment systems.

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