NATIVE FLOWERS AND PERENNIALS SALE

It’s that time of the year again when we’re having our native flowers and perennials sale! This will be a 3-week sale so your orders will need to be in by July 31, 2020. Here’s the order form with prices and what we have available!

Let’s make those yards beYOUtiful!

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SEEKS FEEDBACK ON ADVISORY SYSTEM CHANGES

The National Weather Service (NWS) is seeking public feedback on a proposal to make major changes to its Watch, Warning, and Advisory system, which has been determined by social science research to be confusing to the public.

NWS is proposing to move to a simpler, two-tier system to better communicate when people need to prepare for a possible weather event and when they need to take action.

This handout summarizes the proposed changes. The public survey is available here and will remain open until Friday, August 21, 2020.

To learn more about the project, visit the NWS website.

OUR AMAZING GRASSLANDS
Lance Vilhauer, Mina, SD

“With rotational grazing, what really turned me onto it and got me into it was, honestly, the economic value of it, obviously in dollar signs. I was thinking, “Oh, if we do rotational grazing I automatically should be able to put so many more pairs on a piece of pasture. That’s true to a certain extent, but equally, if not more beneficial, is just how healthy the grass is and how the grass can respond during a drought” – Lance Vilhauer

In the May video release of 2020, we visit Lance Vilhauer, of Mina, South Dakota. The SD Grassland Coalition partnered with other organizations to enhance the Grassland Planner with a release of a short video story each month during 2020 promoting healthy soils, grasslands, and ecosystems.

OUR AMAZING STEWARDSHIP
Dennis and Jean Fagerland, Langford, SD

Watch one of the latest TV commercial in this series, featuring Dennis and Jean Fagerland as they describe their approach to land management and the importance of stewardship.

The “Our Amazing South Dakota Resources” campaign was created in 2018 with the goal of better communicating the importance and value of grasslands and soil resources throughout the state. This campaign strives to better show what South Dakota farmers and ranchers are doing to protect and enhance these resources. Each thirty second video was created utilizing footage from interviews with South Dakota farmers and ranchers and showcases footage of their farming and ranching operations.

USDA is an Equal Opportunity Provider, Employer and Lender.

NOTICE OF VACANCY
Final Posting

The Minnehaha Conservation District will have three vacancies on their board of supervisors, due to the expiration of the present term of office or resignation of the elective officer. The open positions are all four-year terms.

The deadline for filing nominating positions is July 1, 2020 at 5:00 pm. If a petition is mailed by registered mail by July 1, 2020 at 5:00 central time, it is considered filed. Petitions for Minnehaha Conservation District may also be filed at the county auditor’s office during regular business hours.

Here is a copy of the formal notice and more information on filing a nomination petition.

If you have an interest in conservation and want to be part of the decision-making for Minnehaha County, now is your chance! Please consider responding to this request. Thanks!

NOTICE OF VACANCY
Second Posting

The Minnehaha Conservation District will have three vacancies on their board of supervisors, due to the expiration of the present term of office or resignation of the elective officer. The open positions are all four-year terms.

The deadline for filing nominating positions is July 1, 2020 at 5:00 pm. If a petition is mailed by registered mail by July 1, 2020 at 5:00 central time, it is considered filed. Petitions for Minnehaha Conservation District may also be filed at the county auditor’s office during regular business hours.

Here is a copy of the formal notice and more information on filing a nomination petition.

If you have an interest in conservation and want to be part of the decision-making for Minnehaha County, now is your chance! Please consider responding to this request. Thanks!

CROPPING SYSTEM INVENTORY SHOWS
INCREASE IN NO-TILL ACRES
South Dakota Soil Health Coalition

In the wettest year on record for South Dakota, half the cropland in the state that was planted used a cropping system without tillage. That system, no-till farming, has been the predominant cropping system on South Dakota cropland in recent years, but this is the first year the practice was used to plant 50% of the state’s crops.

“It’s a milestone for farmers in this state. The incredibly wet weather we had the previous fall and in the spring of 2019 complicated planting for most farmers, and may have contributed to them meeting that milestone,” Jeff Zimprich, State Conservationist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service told an audience at the Ag Horizons Conference in Pierre.

NRCS inventories since 2004 show the use of conventional tillage has remained fairly level at about 17%. No-till percentage has grown from a 37% share of total cropping system use in 2004 to 50% this year.

“The increase in no-till percentage is coming from farmers who are moving from high-residue tillage systems to not tilling at all,” Zimprich said. “More farmers could well be moving in that direction because no-till is a key practice used with cover crops and crop rotations to regenerate and build healthy soils.”

A perception exists that wet soils need to be tilled to dry out for planting, but in 2019, a really tough year, fewer no-till acres went unplanted compared to full width tillage systems, including conventional tillage. Estimated unplanted acres in each cropping system in 2019 were no-till — 20%; mulch tillage — 39%; reduced tillage — 38%; and conventional tillage — 27%.

Jesse Hall farms in Kingsbury County, where more than 100,000 acres were unable to be planted in 2019. His land has been no-tilled for more than 30 years, and he uses a three-way crop rotation with cover crops. “I was able to plant 91 percent of my crop acres,” Hall says.“Our cover crops used up the extra moisture, and their root base helped support machinery. Our soils are absolutely better to farm now with these soil health practices.”

Like about everyone else, Brian and Jamie Johnson harvested in wet soils on their Spink County farm last fall. “We were never stuck, and rutting was minimal. We give a ton of credit to our small grains in rotation, no-till, cover crops, and cattle,” Jamie says. “It works for us. It’s profitable and sustainable.”

That kind of combination is gaining more favor across the state. More than 900,000 acres of cover crops were planted in South Dakota last year. Nine counties now have more than 30,000 acres of cover crops, and another 22 counties have between 10,000 and 30,000 acres. According to a recent NRCS Cropping Systems Inventory, 20 counties – mostly in central South Dakota – have more than 75% of their cropland under no-till systems.

The full Cropping Systems Inventory report can be viewed on the NRCS South Dakota website.

SOURCE: High Plains Journal

NOTICE OF VACANCY

The Minnehaha Conservation District will have three vacancies on their board of supervisors, due to the expiration of the present term of office or resignation of the elective officer. The open positions are all four-year terms.

The deadline for filing nominating positions is July 1, 2020 at 5:00 pm. If a petition is mailed by registered mail by July 1, 2020 at 5:00 central time, it is considered filed. Petitions for Minnehaha Conservation District may also be filed at the county auditor’s office during regular business hours.

Here is a copy of the formal notice and more information on filing a nomination petition.

If you have an interest in conservation and want to be part of the decision-making for Minnehaha County, now is your chance! Please consider responding to this request. Thanks!

WATERSHED PROJECTS THROUGHOUT THE STATE IMPROVE WATER QUALITY AND SOIL HEALTH

Minnehaha Conservation District is directly involved with the Big Sioux Project

Private landowners play a critical role in caring for South Dakota’s nearly 100 thousand miles of streams and rivers explains Kris Dozark, an environmental scientist with the S.D. Department of Environment and Natural Resources (SD DENR).

Some examples of practices that help to improve water quality include the implementation of riparian buffers and grass waterways to reduce field sediment and nutrient run-off, preventing animal waste from entering waterways, grassland management practices, as well as various practices which help to increase infiltration rates. Cost-share projects which include these, and many others are underway across the state, including a project being administered by the SD Soil Health Coalition.

Dozark says the cost-share projects are a win-win – improving the state’s water quality and helping improve land values. “In many cases, 319 Watershed Projects solve a problem for agriculture producers. Whether the current feed yard is muddy most of the season or erosion is leading to land loss, once we mitigate the issues, cost-share dollars are spent helping the landowner get something they need, like concrete bunks or a drip irrigation system and water quality improves.”

SOURCE: https://sdsoilhealthcoalition.org/watershed-projects-throughout-the-state-improve-water-quality-soil-health/

EXCESS TREE SALE

The Minnehaha Conservation District will be selling excess trees next Wednesday, May 27th and Thursday, May 28th from 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm each day at the District shed, located at 1120 E. 72nd St. N., Sioux Falls. The cost will be $3.00/tree (or $68.00 for a bundle of 25), plus tax. These trees will be available on a first come, first served basis. There will be NO EARLY SALES!

Directions to the District shed: 2 miles south of the Renner corner, or ¾ mile north of I-90 and Cliff Avenue on the west side of the road.

Please CLICK HERE for a list of trees that may be available on the sale.

GEVIK SITE SATIRE

Photo credit: Mick Zerr

The Gevik Outdoor Learning Area is free and open to the public. Please visit https://minnehahacd.org/gevik-learning-area/ for directions to the Gevik site and a map. There are walking trails and interpretive signs to explain what you’re seeing.

As the second photo above implies, please note that your fur babies are also welcome but must be kept leashed. This is a wildlife habitat, and consideration of the wildlife and their young are especially important right now during nesting season. We must insist upon your cooperation, and appreciate your help in keeping the Gevik site safe for everyone, including the wildlife who have made their homes there.

After your visit, we would welcome your feedback and if you take any pictures, please send them to us at info@minnehahacd.org!

OUR AMAZING COMMUNITY

The “Our Amazing South Dakota Resources” campaign was created in 2018 with the goal of better communicating the importance and value of grasslands and soil resources throughout the state. This campaign strives to better show what South Dakota farmers and ranchers are doing to protect and enhance these resources.

Here is one of the latest TV commercials in the series, featuring the Keya Wakpala Garden near Mission, SD and the work they are doing there to not only build soil health but a strong community!

USDA ANNOUNCES $5 MILLION FOR WETLAND MITIGATION BANKING PROGRAM

Funds will help restore, create, or enhance wetland ecosystems

This funding through the Wetland Mitigation Banking Program is to help conservation partners develop or establish mitigation banks to help agricultural producers maintain eligibility for USDA programs.

“Wetlands are critically important to the health of our natural resources – filtering water, reducing soil loss, and providing habitat to our nation’s wildlife while also helping to sequester carbon from the atmosphere,” said NRCS Chief Matthew Lohr. “Through the Wetland Mitigation Banking Program, we’re working with experienced wetland mitigation partners to give farmers another option to meet Farm Bill requirements.”

Wetland mitigation banking is the restoration, creation, or enhancement of wetlands to compensate for unavoidable impacts on wetlands at other locations. The Farm Bill’s wetland conservation provisions, commonly called Swampbuster provisions, aim to remove certain incentives to convert wetlands or to produce agricultural commodities on converted wetlands.

Producers seeking benefits through most USDA programs must comply with wetland conservation provisions by affirming they will not impact wetlands on their lands. In situations where avoidance or on-site mitigation is challenging, the Farm Bill allows for off-site mitigation through the purchase of mitigation banking credits.

This competitive grants program helps states, local governments, and other qualified partners develop wetland mitigation banks to restore, create, or enhance wetland ecosystems.

Applications must be submitted by July 6, 2020.

SOURCE: https://www.agriculture.com/crops/conservation/usda-announces-5-million-for-wetland-mitigation-banking-program

USDA ANNOUNCES SIGN-UP PERIOD FOR CONSERVATION STEWARDSHIP PROGRAM 

The next deadline for Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) applications to be considered for funding in Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 is May 29, 2020. USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) plans to invest up to $500 million for new enrollments in FY 2020. The 2018 Farm Bill made several changes to this critical conservation program, which helps agricultural producers take the conservation activities on their farm or ranch to the next level.

“CSP continues to be a very effective tool for private landowners working to achieve their conservation and management goals,” said Jeff Zimprich, South Dakota State Conservation, Huron. “It is the largest conservation program in the United States with more than 70 million acres of productive agricultural and forest land enrolled.”

While applications are accepted throughout the year, interested producers should contact their local NRCS field office to discuss how to submit applications by May 29, 2020, to ensure their applications are considered for funding.

To contact the Minnehaha County NRCS field office, call 605-330-4515.

PROFILES IN SOIL HEALTH
The Kruger Family, Milbank, SD

“I think that no-till has given me different opportunities … neighbors after watching me, ten to fifteen years of what I’m doing, have come to me and said, “Hey, we like what you are doing on your ground. We want you to farm ours too, the same way.” – David Kruger

In the first “Profiles In Soil Health” video release of 2020, David Kruger describes his experiences transitioning to no-till, a process he began slowly in 1993. The large variety of soil types present in his fields caused quite a bit of problem solving at the start but as he has gotten more comfortable. David has seen benefits he hadn’t at first considered. He outlines some of the initial reasons he decided to pursue the practice, as well as different benefits and opportunities that have arisen as a result of his now operation-wide management.

Visit https://sdsoilhealthcoalition.org/educational-resources/video/ to view videos from past years.

THE TREE ORDERS ARE ARRIVING!

Good news! Our trees are arriving this week! We will be calling or emailing you when your order is ready to pick up. If you don’t hear anything from us by May 1, give John a call at 605-370-3480 or email info@minnehahacd.org and we’ll get you taken care of!

Spring is here! WOO HOOOO!

WOULD WE ALL STILL HAVE FOOD IF THE POLLINATORS DISAPPEAR?

What do tomatoes, basil, coffee and alfalfa have in common? On the surface, it appears to be very little. However, there is one thing they do share: They all owe their existence to the service of pollinators.

Grocery stores would be rather empty without the hard work of bees, birds, butterflies, bats and other pollinators. One out of every three bites of food we eat or beverages we drink every day are because of pollinators. That’s a whole different range of foods, from fruits to nuts to vegetables. But despite the importance of pollinators, they are taken for granted all too often.

If the pollinators that help provide so much of the food we eat were to vanish, what would we do without them? We would starve. That’s why protecting pollinators is essential to the survival of our daily food supply. Bees, for example, are facing a huge challenge to their survival due to pesticides, parasites, disease and habitat loss. Without bees, we would no longer be able to enjoy our favorite foods if they die out. Examples of bee-pollinated crops include watermelons, cantaloupe, citrus, apples, cucumbers, squash, most berry crops, broccoli, nuts, asparagus and more.

How can you help? Pollinators need food, water, shelter and a safe and healthy environment to live in. Here are some tips for how you can help pollinators in your backyard, schoolyard or community garden.

  1. Plant a pollinator garden with a variety of flowers that bloom from spring to fall.
  2. Provide a source of water set on the ground.
  3. Build bee housing
  4. Minimize the use of pesticides
  5. Get involved by learning more about organizations that support pollinators and their habitats (ex. Pollinator Partnership and Xerces Society)

To honor and thank pollinators for the food that we enjoy every day, NACD is celebrating Stewardship Week (April 26–May 3, 2020) with the theme: Where Would We BEE Without Pollinators? to foster education and awareness.

NACD established Stewardship Week 65 years ago to educate the public on the importance of soil health, water quality, pollinator habitat and other conservation topics. Stewardship Week helps to remind us all of the power each person has to conserve natural resources and improve the world.

How are you planning to celebrate Stewardship Week in your community? Share with us at stewardship@nacdnet.org.

SOURCE: https://www.nacdnet.org/2020/04/10/would-we-still-have-food-if-the-pollinators-disappear/

USDA UNVEILS COVID-19 TOOL

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) unveiled a one-stop shop of federal programs that are aimed to help rural communities, organizations and individuals impacted by the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

The COVID-19 Federal Rural Resource Guide is a first-of-its-kind resource for rural leaders looking for federal funding and partnership opportunities to help address this pandemic.

To learn more about this guide and how USDA is taking actions to assist farmers, ranchers, producers, rural communities and rural-based businesses and organizations, visit USDA’s website.

FARMERS’ USE OF PAYCHECK PROTECTION LOAN DEPENDS ON ‘SMALL BUSINESS’ DEFINITION

SOURCE: https://www.no-tillfarmer.com/articles/9596-farmers-use-of-paycheck-protection-loan-depends-on-small-business-definition

Last week we released a Market Intel, What’s in the CARES Act for Food and Agriculture, outlining the provisions of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, Economic Security Act specifically intended for agriculture. This Market Intel delves into provisions of the CARES Act that, depending on how some provisions are interpreted by the Small Business Administration, could potentially provide a lifeline for ag producers.  There are three main SBA programs that are of the most interest to agricultural producers: The Paycheck Protection Program Loan (PPPL), Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and the Emergency EIDL grants.

Signed into law on March 27, the CARES Act provides more than $2 trillion in economic stimulus. It also launched a host of questions about how quickly government agencies could write the rules for the programs included in the legislation. A significant amount of that stimulus was directed toward the SBA, which will oversee $350 billion in dedicated funding to prevent layoffs and business closures while workers have to stay home during the COVID-19 outbreak. SBA has been working feverishly to provide guidance on these programs, but understandably, we’re still awaiting many important details. We know the most about the Paycheck Protection Program Forgivable Loans, which will be the focus of this article. Once additional details are released about the other programs and how they treat production agriculture, we will follow up with Market Intel articles.

Paycheck Protection Program Loans (PPPL)

Tuesday, the SBA and the Treasury Department announced that they have initiated a robust mobilization effort of the PPPL. In a nutshell, the PPPL is designed to help small businesses keep their employees paid through this difficult period. The PPPL provides $349 billion in forgivable loans to small businesses to pay employees and keep them on the payroll. These loans are open to most businesses under 500 employees, including non-profits, the self-employed, startups and cooperatives. While agricultural producers are eligible for the PPPL, it may be less useful to them than originally hoped.

 

BARE ROOT TREE ORDERS

Hopefully everyone is staying healthy! We just wanted to let you know that our bare root tree orders are coming in as planned, and we’ll be contacting you for pick-up times. Please keep an eye on our website and Facebook page for updates. As always, thanks for your business! We appreciate your patience as we get everything figured out in these crazy times!