Thursday, March 25, 2010

Chew on This! The new Blogger on the Block

There is a new blogger in the blogosphere who I wanted to highlight this week; Jerod Chew the Director of ISDA’s Division of Soil Conservation, and author of “Chew on Dirt.” Jerod will have weekly blog discussions about agricultural conservation programs. As I’m sure you will soon see Jerod is very passionate about the effects conservation can have not only on farmland but also on our towns and waterways.

From time to time I post grants and funding opportunities that relate to the conservation world and would be ideal for Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCD’s) as well as not-for-profit organizations such as Pheasants Forever and Ducks Unlimited groups to apply for.

For example the US Department of the Interior offers the Watershed Intern Program for nonprofits to apply for funds to hire interns to work on projects that clearly enhance the sustainability of the watershed’s organizations project to clean up the environments or contribute directly to the remediation of acid mine drainage. Eligible states considered for funding include Indiana as well as Alabama, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. The Department anticipates awarding 20 grants ranging from $1,250 to $2,500 each. Applications are due September 30th and more information can be found at:

A couple of years ago I was administering ISDA’s Clean Water Indiana Grants, and through my daily interactions with SWCD’s I became more familiar with some of the various conservation practices. So familiar in fact, that I found some of their conservation ideals wearing off on me. For example, this one day in early spring I was driving home from work and had just turned off the interstate and drove down some country roads to get to my house. I glanced to my left and saw a tractor out in a field. I didn’t think too much about it after all it was spring and plowing is what farmers do. For some reason I did a double take and saw that the farmer was using a mold board plow and completely turning the soil up and over on what had been a soybean field the season before. I was in shock. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Instantly I started questioning why the farmer didn’t realize how much he soil he would loose from the wind and the effects this would have on the soil’s nutrients, and then…. it hit me…. All those grants I had been auditing on cover crops and watershed restoration and stream bank stabilization projects had set in and made an impression on me. I was a conservation conscientious citizen and cared how that farmers management practices would affect the fields and waterways around him. I hope Jerod’s blog has the same effect on you and opens your eyes to the ideas he has to offer.

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