Fall Conservation Tour highlights Clean Sweep and environmental stewardship

The Fall Conservation Tour provided excellent networking opportunities amongst farmers, state officials and private industry. Over 9,000 pounds of unwanted pesticides were collected for disposal in the Clean Sweep program.

Thirty-one farmers, ranchers and conservationists took part in the 2011 Fall Conservation Tour held on September 8, 2011. The tour highlighted the Clean Sweep pesticide disposal program, bulk fertilizer storage, Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) incentives and verification, nitrogen stewardship practices, cover crops, conservation reserve programs, farm bill provisions, farmland preservation and farm energy auditing. The tour concluded with a visit to the Woodbury, Mich., ethanol facility.

The tour impacts:

  • Participants took advantage of the Clean Sweep Program and submitted 9,167 pounds of unwanted pesticides and 1 pound of mercury for safe disposal by authorities, clearly eliminating a high risk for groundwater contamination from the farmstead.
  • Based on the information they received during the tour, 80 percent of participants indicated that they are more likely to be MAEAP-certified in the future; 55 percent said they would consider building bulk storage facilities to store liquid fertilizer, which is both environmentally and cost effective; 90 percent indicated they are more likely to use soil and plant diagnostic tests to manage nitrogen fertilizer; and 80 percent said they would grow cover crops in the future on 1,200 acres.
  • Pesticide applicators received 3 MDA pesticide re-certification credits.

When the question was posed, “Your tax dollars support this event either totally or in part. Do you want your tax dollars to continue support for this type of educational program?” The answer was a resounding “yes” by 90 percent of the participants. The other 10 percent said “maybe.” None of the participants said “no” and objected to using tax dollars for this program.

This annual event provided excellent networking opportunities amongst farmers, state officials and private industry. To see photos of the tour, view the 2011 Fall Conservation Tour slideshow.

This event was sponsored by MSU Extension, Eaton Conversation District, Ingham Conservations District and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

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