HURON. S.D. – Aug. 31, 2020 – A Bush Foundation Community Innovation Grant will help Ducks Unlimited (DU) promote conservation-based, diversified agriculture through education and demonstration. The $200,000 award will increase opportunities for producers to learn about agricultural practices that improve soil health, water quality and provide economic benefits. One of the primary objectives of the grant is to assist with the development of a soil health demonstration farm near Huron, S.D.
“The site is very typical for the James River Valley,” says Bruce Toay, manager of conservation programs for DU. “We have a mix of good cropland with lots of shallow wetlands, which are important for wildlife and water. We hope to demonstrate a best-case scenario to manage the two together.”
The demonstration farm is a collaborative effort between Ducks Unlimited, Beadle Conservation District and Natural Resources Conservation Service, and will provide local access for agricultural producers to see how conservation practices to improve soil health will lead to improved water management and more profitable farming. The demo farm will focus on science-based recommendations and conservation practices that increase diversity and profitability. The site will also provide opportunities for long-term data collection and innovative cropping technologies.
“We hope the demo farm will help generate ideas and interest,” said DU agronomist Brian Chatham. “If we can follow up and help farmers make these practices work in their own operations, the benefits become scalable throughout the region. These practices can work anywhere, they improve water management, and they’re profitable too.”
The partnership will also focus on providing technical and financial assistance to agricultural producers interested in implementing these practices on their own farms and ranches. DU will offer producers on-site monitoring, farm-specific conservation plans and opportunities for financial assistance for new conservation practices.
“The Bush Foundation partnership will help take our outreach to the next level,” Chatham said, “which will benefit the local agricultural community.”
Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved almost 15 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever. For more information on our work, visit www.ducks.org.
The Bush Foundation invests in great ideas and the people who power them in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and the 23 Native nations that share the same geography. Established in 1953 by 3M Executive Archibald Bush and his wife Edyth, the Foundation supports organizations and people who think bigger and think differently about what is possible in their communities. The Foundation works to inspire and support creative problem solving — within and across sectors — to make the region better for everyone.
Becky Jones Mahlum