Protect America’s Farmland With Good Water Drainage

Conservation and efficiency are emerging as major concerns for agriculture as a new presidential administration sets priorities and policy. Consumers also demand responsible products and practices. To avoid being left behind, companies must continue to focus on being agents of positive change. As sustainability goals take center stage, land and water conservation becomes even more integrated.

Agriculture is evolving right now to meet these demands, and new approaches such as watershed drainage and water management are taking center stage to seize the opportunity. Inadequate drainage adversely affects the long-term viability of the land, as excess water can increase the risk of soil erosion, compaction, and nutrient loss. Additionally, neglected or improperly located drainage prevents the ability to perform timely field operations, reducing productivity. Inefficient use of resources is a costly endeavor in the long run, and the new sustainability demands of this generation will not tolerate mismanagement of natural resources either.

All stakeholders – including farmland investors – increasingly expect concrete and measurable sustainability and cost commitments, so it makes sense to use drainage consultancy services that deliver these results and competitive advantage in the market. For example, resources such as fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides can only be effective when the land is properly drained. In addition, the topsoil, which is the richest in nutrients and most essential for plant health, will wash downstream. By increasing the negative impact, the loss of topsoil has more damaging effects such as land erosion and water pollution downstream.

The positive impact of drainage on sustainability is greater than it appears. By minimizing soil erosion and loss of nutrients, drainage also contributes to cleaner water. There are also carbon sequestration benefits that are enhanced by the proper production plan, which paves the way for strategies to reduce nutrient loss. Additionally, drainage promotes opportunities for “bolt-on” conservation practices such as waterways, riparian buffers, wetlands, bioreactors, and more. With the right characteristics, custom drainage can serve as a water reuse infrastructure to store water when the crop needs it.

Farmers and landowners often understand the basics of drainage, but few have access to advanced knowledge and resources that prevent problems down the road. Reliable water management experts and precision engineering close this gap.

Deepen collaborative action

As long-term strategies evolve, it becomes increasingly imperative to collaborate with water management specialists to generate lasting results. There are many factors that go into the effectiveness of drainage, timing being one of them. While it is never too late to add professional drainage to the land, it becomes extremely difficult if the watershed neighbors are not aligned with the project schedule. Experts agree that the only thing that costs more than improving a farm is doing it twice because you neglect the drainage at the right time. Collaboration and planning preventively mitigate risk and help unlock the true value of the land.

The success of multi-owner projects – where mutually beneficial solutions are implemented – has shifted the lines in watershed management. Identifying a watershed with an area that shares a common outlet increases the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of a water management system. The holistic approach is not only more sustainable, but also more profitable. A collaborative watershed process is a model for financial intelligence and conservation stewardship.

As water does not have geographic boundaries and does not discriminate against land or landowners, it is imperative to treat water management with a systems approach. Landowners and farmers have a powerful opportunity to collaborate and synchronize across the watershed to address and achieve sustainability goals. Drainage integration is essential to provide sustainable and substantial solutions for land improvement as long as these solutions are undertaken by professional drainage experts, consultants and engineers. Drainage is sustainability well done – and it pays dividends for years to come.


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