United States Department of Agriculture ∙ Natural Resources Conservation Service
Federal Building, 200 Fourth Street SW ∙ Huron, SD 57350-2475 ∙ (605) 352-1200 ∙ (605) 352-1288 (FAX)
For Immediate Release
Jeff McGuire, State Public Affairs Specialist
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
200 Fourth Street, SW.
Phone: (605) 352-1228
Remember Conservation When Making Planting Decisions
NATURAL RESOURCES CONSERVATION SERVICE (NRCS), Huron, S.D. March 23, 2007 – Don't
forget to check your conservation plan before making final planting decisions this spring, advises Janet
Oertly, State Conservationist, for the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in South Dakota.
"Always review your conservation plan before changing a crop rotation, in order to stay eligible for USDA
Programs," said Oertly.
With the higher corn prices, some farmers are thinking about changing crop rotations to plant more corn.
“Increased tillage, additional fertilizer, and planting fence row-to-fence row may increase production in the
short term, however, the benefits of rotating crops may be lost when corn is planted year after year,” reminds
“The benefits of crop rotation is not just related to the positive effects of soil conservation through
erosion control. There are a wide variety of beneficial effects associated with diversified crop rotations,” said
Shaun Vickers, NRCS State Resource Conservationist.
Increased yield potential and reduced crop input costs; improvements in soil structure and organic matter;
reduced weed, disease, and insect densities and resistance; extend uses of machinery; labor costs for planting
and harvesting operations; and spreading farm income and weather related risks are some of these benefits.
Even with the best management practices for erosion control, and nutrient and pesticide management; a
serious risk of increased sediment and chemical residues in water exists with continuous corn production -
especially if you are dropping soil-conserving crops, such as hay or pasture, and adding an annually planted
tilled crop, such as corn.
Conservation programs such as Highly Erodible Land (HEL) Compliance, the Conservation Security
Program (CSP), and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), are all examples of conservation
programs with specific rotational requirements on cropland.
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“Individuals who plan on participating USDA programs now or in the future should check with NRCS
before they stray too far from the crop rotation shown in their conservation plans," said Vickers.
Vickers advises NRCS program participants to contact their local NRCS field office if they have
questions about the status of their conservation compliance plan, conservation practices, or any of the USDA