Global Food Forum

Farmer Practices Protect Community Water

Water is on the minds of soybean farmers constantly.

They work to protect the streams, lakes and rivers running through their communities. Their kids and their communities use the water to brush teeth, fill water bottles and do business. Farmers want to use the best practices to protect water for themselves … and all of the families around them.

Soil is for Fields, Not for Waterways

Farmers actively protect local streams and lakes by preventing their soil from moving off of their fields and into waterways. Soybean farmer Elsie Wetzel of Tom Bean, Texas says, “Depending on the field and how water moves through it, we have a number of practices that we’ve found to be effective.” She says they are always trying new things to find what works best to keep water in the field for another each field.

From seed selection to buffer strips, field placement to cover crops, farmers continually work to protect the water. In Nebraska, Diane Karr’s farm goes beyond the local groundwater regulations. She says, “Our conservation practices don’t begin and end with what’s required of us. We always look for ways to better manage our resources to keep our water use sustainable.”

The Right Amount at the Right Time

Water protection also means precision application — the right amount at the right time in the right place— of crop protection products to deal with weeds and insects. Data collection and farm technologies let farmers select the right tools and verify their conservation practices.

For example, Jay Myers of North Dakota uses a self-propelled sprayer that uses data from each field location to apply crop protection products more precisely.

“The specificity of this technology lets us control individual spray nozzles based on the speed of the sprayer and location in the field,” says Myers. “This helps us better manage application rates on our soybeans.”

Wetzel agrees, “We can control it down to the droplet size. And we’re also very careful to spray during the right weather. In addition, we carefully select crop protection options that are designed to stay on the plant and out of streams and waterways.”

Farmers work to protect water for themselves and their communities, now and in the future.

“By using water carefully and respectfully now, we can ensure it’s available for our children, grandchildren and those who live here after us,” Karr says.

USB Staff Writer
USB Staff Writer

Staff Writer

United Soybean Board

United Soybean Board’s 78 volunteer farmer-directors work on behalf of all U.S. soybean farmers to achieve maximum value for their soy checkoff investments. These volunteers invest and leverage checkoff funds in programs and partnerships to drive soybean innovation beyond the bushel and increase preference for U.S. soy. That preference is based on U.S. soybean meal and oil quality and the sustainability of U.S. soybean farmers.