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The Montana Conservationist December 5

Greetings, TMC readers! Today we are celebrating World Soil Day! So in honor of this festive & fertile annual occasion, we have lots of soil-related topics:

  • We have movement on two long-awaited and important federal topics this week. First up, negotiators have reached a tentative Farm Bill agreement to rectify the differences between House and Senate versions. So if you’ve got a new Farm Bill on your Christmas wishlist, you just might be in luck. Secondly, Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue has finally named an NRCS chief, nearly two years into this administration’s tenure. Matt Lohr, a farm boy and former legislator from Virginia, will lead the agency.
  • Next up, a new USDA study of Montana pastures finds that grazing lands grow more bugs for birds to eat, as opposed to rested or idled pastures. We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again: what’s good for the bird is good for the herd.
  • Minnesota Public Radio reports on the growing soil health movement in the Midwest, as ever more producers adapt the practices.
  • In Northwest Montana, Lincoln CD has begun its second stream restoration of the year. Part of the work on Mud Creek is to meet sediment reduction targets, and re-establish a functional floodplain. Mud Creek is about to get just a little less muddy. We’d also like to point out one cool thing that the SWCDM team had a hand in: that’s setting up a way for visitors to the site to upload photos directly to the Lincoln CD website so that the district can keep track of the vegetation regrowth.
  • Utah Public Radio reports on a new study that says more, smaller wildfires may keep soil in its place, which in turn would increase water resources in the West. Just one more arrow pointing out a growing movement towards fire use rather than suppression.
  • In Sidney, North Ag reports that local farmer Sarah Rachor is diversifying her crop portfolio with hops. We’re more than hoppy to see the expansion of Montana’s beer supply chain.
  • Finally, today is Soil’s day, and so it seems fitting that the New York Times has an article on how soil might save us all from climate change. A November study found that better management of forests, grasslands, and soils could offset as much as 21 percent of the country’s annual greenhouse gas emissions!

All of that, plus an Opportunities section with lots of new grants and jobs. It’s all in today’s Montana Conservationist: TMC 2018-12-05

Kate Arpin

Kate is the Communications and Technology Manager for Soil & Water Conservation Districts of Montana. She manages the website, puts out The Montana Conservationist every other week, and assists conservation districts with technology, websites, and communications.

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