Researcher says some retailers are not supporting conservation practices

A University of Wisconsin researcher says the biggest obstacle for some farmers trying to implement conservation practices is their ag retailer.

Jason Cavadini with the UW’s Marshfield Ag Research Station tells Brownfield he would answer farmer questions and help plan for new conservation practices on their farms, only to have those plans shelved after farmers see their suppliers. “Everything would seem good, only for them to run into a roadblock which would be the retailer who would either tell them it just wasn’t possible or just would not really have the experience or understanding of how to make this work.”

Cavadini says he and other university researchers had scientific data from replicated research trials showing that cover crops, no-till, perennial forage systems, managed grazing, and other practices work but, “We recognized that in order to get this on the land, we really needed to work with some retailers to get past that roadblock.”

Cavadini says some retailers are seeing the benefits.  One of them is Matt Oehmichen from Short Lane Ag Supply in Colby, Wisconsin. Oehmichen tells Brownfield, “Once you start seeing how soil degrades, and heavy tillage and poor crop rotations, that explains the loss of fertility. That explains stuck equipment. All of a sudden, we realized that we could strengthen our customer base if we were integrating these conservation measures.”

Oehmichen says helping farmers implement conservation practices has helped his customer base because it improves farm logistics and profitability on their acres.

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