By TIM HORAN
No rain, no-till, no problem. Well, fewer problems.
Last July, Dickinson County was placed in a drought warning. Since then area rainfall is way behind the 25.52 inches of average rainfall and the weather forecast doesn’t see that cycle ending anytime soon.
That is the perfect example of the need for soil conversation, said Dennis Marston, conservation district board vice-president, before the 68th annual Dickinson County Conservation District Annual Dinner Meeting and Awards Program.
Marston said that no-till and the EQIP (Environmental Quality Incentives Program) have helped keep moisture in the soil.
“With the no-till there is more cover on the ground which is helpful to moisture in the ground,” he said.
“I’d say the biggest contributor to saving the soil is no-till because you don’t have that bare soil out there,” he said.
With no-till farming, the ground is treated with herbicides and fertilizer.
“You don’t till the ground. You rotate crops and plant right in the residue that is there,” he said, explaining no-tell. “You spray Roundup on it and kill everything but the crop.”
When the farm bill expired, there was no money going to conservation.
“Everything was on hold,” he said. “Nothing was happening. There were no contracts or anything. So everything was at a standstill. We didn’t start making contracts again until they extended the farm bill. There was no money.”
He said a future farm bill will continue to support conservation.
“They are wanting to put more money in the conservation side; at least they were, than the farm side of it,” he said.
“With the EQIP program, they clean up evasive trees out of pastures and that has helped save the moisture in the pastures, getting rid of the trees and the brush. That has really helped.
Finally, Marston, who ran the meeting, was pleased to see a good turnout.
“And good weather for it, too,” he said. “We’ve had it on Valentine’s before and it seems like it was hard to get people to attend. Last year we had a good turnout and we had a lot of RSVPs this year.”
The meal is sponsored by the banks in Dickinson County.
A number of awards were presented at the Annual Meeting and banquet of the Dickinson County Conservation District Thursday at Sterl Hall.
Marston also presented the annual meeting minutes and a 2012 financial report.
Teresa Wilson presented a PowerPoint presentation of the award winners. Cindy Woofter, who just took over as conservation district manager, presented the poster award winners. Those will be announced in a special supplement to the Reflector-Chronicle next week.
Among the awards presented:
Kansas Bankers Soil Conservation Award presented by Bryan Armendariz, county key banker, to Tim and Deb Sanders.
Grassland Award, presented by Matt Gustin, district board treasurer, to Mark Anderes and his daughter Kaytee who accepted the award on behalf of Rodney and Diane Shoemaker who were unable to attend.
Young Farmer Award, presented by Greg Legleiter, Frontier Farm Credit, to Kurt Phillips and his wife Kimmy and
kids Kaesen and Kynlie.
Buffer Award, presented by Marston to Don Nebelsick.
No-Till Award, presented by Francis Anderson, district board member, to Karl Lowry.
Windbreaker Award, presented by Mitch Wilson, district board member, to Jim and Peggy Krueger.
Entertainment was provided by Richard Nichols, The Cowboy Poet.
Also, Darren Haney was elected to a three-year term as a supervisor.