“Hey, what are you going to do differently to help improve water quality?”
Some discussions about conservation are naturally hard to start. Educated as an agronomist, I did not have formal training in conservation. I remember, as a young NRCS employee, being fearful that I would start out on the wrong foot or offend a farmer – long before I could get to the main point of my visit. On the other hand, sometimes the situation lent itself to an easy conversation. And those times were golden – when the problem was obvious and the approach was straightforward. Back then, as a newbie to conservation, rather than struggle with an uncomfortable approach, I found it easiest to start with an obvious problem.
This spring, I saw hundreds of opportunities for easy conversation starters with farmers. There were so many failed grassed waterways. When it rained, these “so called” grassed waterways had water running along the edge, instead of down the center (see video).
Zeroing in on these “easy to spot” failures can be an effective approach. An easy conversation starter might be, “how would you like to save you topsoil without taking land out of production?” What farmer wouldn’t respond to that!