Soil Health Labs

43 How to Build Farm and Ranch Resilience with Climate Smart Practices

Episode Summary

Get Ready to take Advantage of the Climate-Smart Practice Incentives. In this special podcast episode, we get together with the South Dakota NRCS’s Jessica Michalski and Kent Vlieger to discuss what the upcoming climate smart agriculture and forestry package looks like, what we know, and as of December 2022, what we also don’t yet know. NRCS uses conservation practices to do business with their farmers, ranchers and foresters and in the last two years, many of those conservation practices have been defined as ‘climate smart’. Many of those practices are already in use in South Dakota; these include conservation crop rotation, residue and tillage management, reducing tillage or using no-till, cover crops, nutrient management, grass seeding practices like field borders, filter strips, grassed waterways, pasture and hay, land plantings, and range seedings are defined as some of the practices. In short, most of these practices have been shown to put more carbon into the soil; more importantly to producers, more carbon (typically 60% of organic matter is carbon) in the soil means better soil function, namely better infiltration, water retention, nutrient recycling and healthier crops and animals. In this recording, we speak to Jessica and Kent about the following: 1. What are examples of climate-smart practices? 2. Demystifying the “climate smart” label and how do climate smart practices benefit the producer, keeping in mind that these practices already have a proven track record on South Dakota farms and ranches 3. While there is a lot we don’t know, it’s important to understand that producers can prepare themselves to take advantage of the funding before any announcements are made. Jessica’s main advice? Go to your field office and make sure your conservation plan is up to date! 4. Kent Vlieger gets a little more granular on how these climate smart practices may benefit you and how you can use these incentives to think outside the box. 5. The funding for climate smart practices has the potential to be transformative for many farms and ranches, Jessica gives advice for what else a produce can do to be prepared to take advantage of this program (announcement is set for January 2023). 6. Finally, Kent touches on why the producer may want to become more educated about the soil food web, and how that may be an advantage when choosing which conservation practices may fit a particular operation. To end, what does Jessica Michalski advise? “So when it comes to the EQIP program, right after the first of the new year, we'll probably be getting out our payment schedule information, …and start looking at the practices that would really help you address your resource concerns. I think the more educated a producer can make themselves, again, a more successful conservation plan, a more successful contract they're going to have if they do their homework.” Useful links to help you get started, watch out for new announcements in January 2023! Stay tuned to the SD NRCS website: