The Agricultural Drainage Management Coalition (ADMC) recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to coordinate water management training and certification that will lead to the certification of water management specialists. These specialists will be the only individuals eligible to develop drainage management plans as part of a total conservation management plan.
“We can provide the training and certification of individuals, and they in turn would register with NRCS as an individual certified to develop drainage & water management plans,” says Harold Reetz, ADMC executive director. For a farm to be eligible for cost sharing related to a drainage water management system, a certified person must develop the plan.
Work is still being done to set up all the rules and regulations, and these will be in place in time for the ADMC’s first workshop on July 14-15 in Rochester, MN.
Drainage water management as an issue has come to the forefront at NRCS, notes Reetz, with the recent appointment of Paul Sweeney, a former NRCS state conservationist in North Dakota, as the head of the drainage water taskforce. Some 16 individuals at NRCS will be working on the issue at the agency.
ADMC is also spearheading research on drainage systems and on getting a handle on the benefits of an effective drainage water management system. Reetz says some preliminary studies on nitrates indicate that an effective system can keep 60% or more of the nitrogen from leaching away vs. not having any system in place.
“We are working on research and education projects that provide information to the policy makers,” explains Reetz. “Unless local conservation people and drainage contractors really understand how to these management systems work, they are not going to recommend them to farmers. When we educate them, they understand what they can do and will work to promote it.”
For more information on the ADMC contact Harold Reetz via email here, or visit the website. The website also has details on registering for the training session on July 14-15, or call ADMC at 507-451-0073.