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It's hard to believe, but in a few parts of the country, there are still counties where not a soul no-tills. It was this situation that prompted the Umatilla River Soil and Water Conservation district and others to contact the Regional Geographic Initiative Group (RGI) funded by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
About 4 years ago, Umatilla County had no acres dedicated to no-till. This sparked several concerned groups to collaborate and take action.
“Our extension agent, the Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), growers and equipment dealers got together and decided that if we wanted to encourage farmers to no-till, we needed to supply them with some incentives to make it happen,” says Jim Loiland of the Umatilla SWCD and RGI group. “Through some funding with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, we secured funding to offer monetary incentives to operators willing to rent no-till drills.”
This idea, once in motion, was designed to support up to 5,000 acres of incentive payments. The first year, the response was beyond their wildest dreams. They ended up with 15,000 first-time no-till acres, mostly dedicated to the enormous acreage of wheat grown in the area.
“The program provided funding for up to 200 acres per producer at $10 an acre,” he says. “Producers direct seeded much of the balance of their additional acreage without the incentive. Farmers on the whole did more acreage than what the incentive covered.”
That’s good news for…