Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District

We inspire and partner with our community to protect the natural resources and agricultural future of our District.


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The Dollars and Cents of Soil Health: A Farmer’s Perspective

North Carolina farmer Russell Hedrick holding corn

Last year, the United States lost 2 million acres of land in active crop production. As the global population grows towards a projected 9.8 billion people by 2050, so too does demand for the food, fuel and fiber grown in America. The result? American farmers are looking for sustainable ways to produce high yields year after year.

To support this growing demand, many farmers are incorporating soil health management principles into their operations. Conservation practices such as cover crops and no-till are widely recommended to build soil health over time, but do these practices actually improve crop yields and lead to stable profit margins? To answer this question fully we will rely on universities, private scientists, government researchers and those most directly impacted: farmers themselves.

Meet Russell Hedrick

Russell Hedrick is a first-generation corn, soybean and specialty grains producer in Catawba County, North Carolina. Hedrick started in 2012 with 30 acres of row crops. Since then, he’s expanded to roughly 1,000 acres.

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Source:  Elizabeth Creech, Natural Resources Conservation Service in Conservation, March 12, 2018

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Project Helps Grape Growers Use New Technology Effectively in Vineyards

At first glance, a vineyard might seem like a fairly predictable environment. But, think about all the variables in your growing area. Soil types can influence exactly how a canopy can perform, and that can impact yield. It’s not as simple as grapes hanging on a vine. As new technologies are developed to help automate vineyard production, it becomes increasingly important to understand how to use all the data generated.

The biggest challenge to integrating new technology has always been the question of how to use the data that is collected with sensors, drones, and other computer systems. And, this is where the Efficient Vineyard Project comes in.

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Source:  Christina Herrick, Growing Produce, October 28, 2018


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The unseen driver behind the migrant caravan: climate change

Thousands of Central American migrants trudging through Mexico towards the US have regularly been described as either fleeing gang violence or extreme poverty.

But another crucial driving factor behind the migrant caravan has been harder to grasp: climate change.

Most members of the migrant caravans come from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador – three countries devastated by violence, organised crime and systemic corruption, the roots of which can be traced back to the region’s cold war conflicts.

Experts say that alongside those factors, climate change in the region is exacerbating – and sometimes causing – a miasma of other problems including crop failures and poverty.

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Source:  in New York, in Washington and in Huixtla, Mexico;  The Guardian, October 30, 2018


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The 2018 Midterms: Outcomes and Impacts on Sustainable Agriculture

Kentucky Farmer Will Bowling with NSAC staff on Capitol Hill. Photo credit: NSAC.

With 435 House and 35 Senate races on the ballot yesterday, the 2018 midterms were closely watched across the nation – not least of all by advocates of sustainable agriculture. Before heading off to the campaign trail, Congress left two major ag agenda items dangling – the 2018 Farm Bill and the fiscal year (FY) 2019 appropriations bill – both of which will either need to be wrapped up in the lame duck session, or taken on by the 116th Congress when they take their seats next year. In this post, we analyze how the changes in Congress members and party power are likely to impact sustainable agriculture priorities in the coming years.

Big Picture

The biggest shift from last night’s elections is the change in party control of the House of Representatives, which changed from Republican to Democratic control for the first time since 2008. Though the “blue wave” was ultimately not as drastic as some had been predicted, the change in party control (as well as loss of some Republican Agriculture and Appropriations Committee members) will be significant.

The Senate remains under Republican control; in fact, Republicans have increased their majority in the Senate by at least three seats, with some Senate races still too close to call.

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Source:  National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, Nov. 7, 2018


Untangling the Complexities of California’s Proposition 3 Water Bond

ON NOVEMBER 6, California voters will decide the fate of Proposition 3 (the Water Supply and Water Quality Act of 2018), which authorizes the sale of $8.9 billion in new general obligation bonds for water-related infrastructure and environmental projects. This includes funds – most of which would be distributed through grants – for various projects related to water supply, watershed health, flood management, groundwater, facility upgrades and fish and wildlife habitat.

Many are confused about the bond, and numerous organizations have taken positions supporting or opposing it. We at the Pacific Institute, a California-based think-tank focused on water, are taking no formal position on Proposition 3, opting instead to offer the voting public some insights into its complexities.

For context, California has authorized approximately $60 billion (in 2018 dollars) in water-related bonds since 1960. If passed, Prop. 3 would be the fourth-largest water bond in California history. Further, the combination of Prop. 68 (approved by voters in June 2018) and Prop. 3 would make 2018 the second-highest funding year for water-related bonds in the state’s history. The largest authorization was in 1960, when California voters approved construction of the State Water Project.

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Source:  Heather Cooley, Sonali Abraham, Sarah Diringer and Cora Kammeyer, Water Deeply, October 29, 2018


Geomorphology of a river: what happens when you install a dam or a weir and how the sediment transport changes

River Geomorphology Video created by Little River Research and Design, with funding from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. http://serc.carleton.edu/details/file…

As the clip opens you see shallow flow with uniform bedmaterial transport throughout. A small low head wier or dam is installed. This produces deep subcritical flow above the dam and critical flow over it. Below the dam we see supercritical flow.

The deeper, low velocity flow above the dam cannot move the coarse bedload (Q = VA, and since A is greatly increased and Q is unchanged above the dam, V is greatly decreased) and we see deposition occur until depth is shallow enough (and A small enough) that the increase in V moved bedload again. Deposition occurs to the top of the dam.

When the dam is installed, we see a classic disruption in sediment transport continuity. Coarse transport essentially ceases through the dam until deposition builds a higher streambed. Sediment is blown out below the dam (often scoured to bedrock in the real world) This is the well known “hungry water” effect seen below dams.

At low-water crossings in the Missouri Ozarks, many of which are essentially low dams, we often see this condition, manifested as a wide, sediment-filled channel with low banks upstream of the bridge. This contrasts with a deep, scoured channel below, sometimes with high, unstable banks.

At the end of the demonstration, the downstream gate is lowered and a hydraulic jump appears which is then drowned as stage increases. The depositional dune and slipface then move past the dam. The gate is then raised somewhat, allowing a jump to reform and sediment is blown out below the dam.

 


2019 CDFA AMMP Funding

Image result for cdfa ammp

CDFA will offer a third round of Alternative Manure Management Program (AMMP) grants for 2019. This grant awards a maximum of $750,000 for flush to scrape conversion, installation of a manure separator, or pasture management (including compost bedded pack barn construction). For additional information or technical assistance to submit a grant, please contact William Hart.

william@goldridgercd.org  or 707-823-5244