Delta F.A.R.M - Farmers Advocating Resource Management
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Delta F.A.R.M.
Programs and Projects

Programs and Projects

Click on a tab below to view more information on the programs & projects supported by Delta F.A.R.M.

  • Technical Assistance
  • Documentation of Conservation Efforts
  • Watershed Restoration Projects
  • Buffer Initiative
  • Mapping Voluntary Conservation
  • Bee Lake
  • Steele Bayou
  • Pesticide Stewardship/Risk Reduction
  • Wolf Lake Project
  • Coldwater River Project
  • Harris and Porter Bayou Projects
  • Delta Nutrient Reduction Strategy
  • Healthy Soils Initiative
  • 1 Million Acre Celebration
  • Operation Pollinator
Technical Assistance

Delta F.A.R.M.'s primary objective is to provide landowners and farm operators with information that will ultimately help them address environmental concerns without reducing profitability. Information is provided through several methods. A major source of information is the Delta F.A.R.M. Program Manual. This document includes basic information on Best Management Practices and Regulatory Laws. The Delta F.A.R.M. Program Manual and other resources can be accessed by clicking HERE. Current environmental issues and news may be found by clicking HERE. If more information is needed, the staff will be happy to provide it upon request. The staff will also make site visits to help members develop plans to address environmental concerns specific to their farming operation.

Documentation of Conservation Efforts

Delta F.A.R.M. documents the current non-regulatory, voluntary conservation efforts of its membership through a new on-line Personal Conservation Assessment Tool (PCAT) which took the place of the annual written questionnaire that was sent out prior to 2014. Like its predecessor, the on-line tool helps Delta F.A.R.M. members gage their overall environmental stewardship as they compare their own practices to those that the conservation community feel are important for producers in this region to use. And when the information from each assessment is compiled with all other members, the overall data is published in an annual Environmental Stewardship Report. The report helps Delta F.A.R.M. track environmental trends in the region and leverage opportunities to improve on-the-farm conservation in the Delta. The Environmental Stewardship Report also serves to document and promote the good efforts being made by the farm community to voluntarily adopt conservation measures that address state, regional and national environmental concerns.

Comprehensive Watershed Restoration Projects

Delta F.A.R.M. has been and is currently involved with several comprehensive watershed restoration projects. Each of the projects have used a systematic approach to unifying local interests, identifying concerns, developing a consensus based plan of action and the ultimate implementation of the plan. The comprehensive and grassroots level approach can be very slow and expensive, but nearly always results in an exceptional outcome for local stakeholders. If you think a comprehensive approach could be used to address environmental concerns in your watershed, contact the Delta F.A.R.M. Staff. You can learn more about the process by reading about the Bee Lake, Steele Bayou and Wolf Lake watershed projects listed in the MAJOR PROJECTS section of the website.

Buffer Initiative

In 2000, the National Buffer Initiative was initiative by USDA. Delta F.A.R.M. took the lead in the Yazoo-Mississippi Delta by assisting the USDA in disseminating information about new the Continuous CRP Program and approved practices such as Riparian Forest Buffers and Grass Filter Strips. Delta F.A.R.M. also partnered with Delta Wildlife to implement a buffer program using a suite of plant materials that would provide both water quality and wildlife habitat benefits. The project protected 78 miles of streams and lakes in 8 counties. The project reduced sediment loading by 37% and was measured at 23,323 tons per year. Habitat created by the buffers provided homes to 116 species of birds, including threatened species like the grasshopper sparrow. Several publications were completed and can be found HERE.

Mapping Voluntary Conservation

By holding a key to the farm gate, Delta F.A.R.M. is in the unique position to know what is going on in the field of voluntary conservation. These efforts are documented annually through the Delta F.A.R.M. Evaluation and Environmental Stewardship Report. In 2003, Delta F.A.R.M. began an effort to map many of these conservation practices. BMPs were mapped in several locations so the data could be used to correlate the relative abundance of various BMPs being documented in the annual Environmental Stewardship Report. The information and relative distribution also provided insight as what level of environmental benefits are being accrued by Delta F.A.R.M. members. Delta F.A.R.M. continues to map the conservation practices installed as a part of projects administered by the organization builds farm maps for individual members upon request.

Bee Lake Watershed Restoration Project

A.C.E. Pilot ProgramBee Lake is a 1,400 acre oxbow lake in Holmes County, MS that was identified as an impaired water body by EPA and listed as a priority for restoration by the Yazoo Basin Team. Delta F.A.R.M. and Delta Wildlife partnered to address all the pollution concerns. A local stakeholder and technical committee were formed to identify issues and develop solutions. The results of this planning process were documented in the Bee Lake Watershed Implementation Plan. The plan was implemented over the course of a 3-year period. All identified pollutants and concerns were addressed. After 120 BMP were installed sedimentation was reduced by 67% according to monitoring data from the USGS. Today, the Bee Lake Project serves as a model project to demonstrate how local stakeholders can address water quality concerns.

Steele Bayou Watershed Restoration Project

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) implemented a project on the upper drainage basin of Steel Bayou in the late 1990's. Results from the project were so dramatic that is was thought that the project should be replicated on the balance of the watershed. If the results on the lower reaches were as significant as the upper reaches, it was thought that Steele Bayou could become a reference stream for water quality and fish diversity in the Delta. Through a partnership with the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, EPA and USACE, the Lower Steele Bayou Watershed Restoration Project was initiated in 2006. It would be the task of the USACE to address major head cuts, bank stabilization and other major BMPs while Delta F.A.R.M. would focus on smaller drains and reducing non-point source pollution from adjacent croplands. The project is still underway, but positive results are already being documented by both the USACE and USGS.

Pesticide Stewardship and Risk Reduction Project

In 2008, Delta F.A.R.M. assembled a panel of experts to begin the development of three pesticide stewardship manuals specific to corn, rice and soybean production in the Mississippi Delta. A BMP manual for each commodity was developed to empower growers to used new technologies and science to reduce un-needed pesticide applications or transition to reduced risk pesticides. The new commodity specific BMP manuals are available in the RESOURCES section of the website.

Wolf Lake Project

This project was designed to improve water quality in Wolf and Broad Lakes through the use of agricultural Best Management Practices (BMPs). Teams of local stakeholders were formed to identify both natural resource concerns and potential solutions. Delta F.A.R.M. and the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality then partnered with local farmers to install BMPs such as pipes, weirs, and improved drainage ditches that are designed to trap sediment and nutrients before they enter the lake. Over 200 BMPs were installed in order to address most of sediment/nutrient loss due to gully erosion.

Coldwater River Project

The Coldwater Project was implemented to gain a better understanding of the economic and environmental benefits provided by tail-water recovery (TWR) and on-farm storage systems (OFS). Delta F.A.R.M., MDEQ, and the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) partnered with local farmers to implement these systems for monitoring by Mississippi State University. Results show that although these practices have significant environmental benefits, they are only feasible with financial assistance through programs such as the NRCS Mississippi River Basin Initiative.

Harris and Porter Bayou Projects

In 2009, Delta F.A.R.M. and MDEQ co-led a group of over twenty resource agencies and organizations to develop the Delta Nutrient Reduction Strategy (DNRS). This strategy was the first developed in the entire Mississippi River Basin. Farm scale locations within the Harris and Porter Bayou watersheds were selected for implementation of the DNRS. The focus was to install conservation practices and monitor the results to answer three main questions: 1) what level of nutrient reductions can we achieve; 2) how much do these reductions cost; and 3) what is the value to the farmer. Monitoring results demonstrate substantial improvements through the implementation of structural conservation practices. However, they also show that runoff during storm events often exceed the capacity of these systems and suggest that soil management practices should be considered to obtain the highest level of nutrient reductions.

Delta Nutrient Reduction Strategy

In 2009, Delta F.A.R.M. and MDEQ co-led a group of over twenty resource agencies and organizations to develop the Delta Nutrient Reduction Strategy (DNRS). This strategy was the first developed in the entire Mississippi River Basin. Farm scale locations within the Harris and Porter Bayou watersheds were selected for implementation of the DNRS. The focus was to install conservation practices and monitor the results to answer three main questions: 1) what level of nutrient reductions can we achieve; 2) how much do these reductions cost; and 3) what is the value to the farmer. Monitoring results demonstrate substantial improvements through the implementation of structural conservation practices. However, they also show that runoff during storm events often exceed the capacity of these systems and suggest that soil management practices should be considered to obtain the highest level of nutrient reductions.

Healthy Soils Initiative

The first step for addressing both water quality and irrigation efficiency is soil management. Healthy soils have good aggregation and structure which improves water infiltration and decreases sediment and nutrient loss. This initiative focuses on the practical implementation of the four principles of soil health; 1) minimize soil disturbance; 2) plant diversity through crop rotation and cover crops; 3) maintain living roots in the soil year around; and 4) keep the soil surface covered with residue year around. Management experiences and advice are posted to the initiative website http://www.mscovercrop.com. Additionally, Delta F.A.R.M. is working with Mississippi State scientists and economists on several research projects to answer specific agronomic and economic questions.

1 Million Acre Celebration

"Delta Moon" by Mathew Hasty
"Delta Moon" by Matthew Hasty was commissioned by Syngenta to celebrate the enrollment of 1,000,000 acres into the Delta F.A.R.M. Program in only 10-years of service. The theme of the work is an environmental aesthetic landscape from the agricultural region known as the Mississippi Delta. The original 30" x 40" oil on canvas hangs at the Syngenta headquarters in Greensboro, NC. To see more Matthew Hasty works, visit his website at www.matthewhasty.com.

* Click here to view a larger version of the painting
 
Brian, George, and Marcia Vanlandingham
Brian, George, and Marcia Vanlandingham enrolled their family farm into the Delta F.A.R.M. Program, putting the organization over the 1,000,000 acre mark.”
Delta F.A.R.M. (Farmers Advocating Resource Management) was founded in October of 1998 to help farmers become better environmental stewards and address regional natural resource concerns. Today, Delta F.A.R.M. has become the region's leading natural resource conservation organization, celebrating 10-years of service and the enrollment of one million acres. The formal announcement was made at Vanlandingham Farms north of Leland on November 6th, the site of the one millionth acre.

The celebration began with breakfast at 8:00 a.m. for Delta F.A.R.M. sponsors and cooperating agencies. Proclamations written and signed by Governor Haley Barbour were presented to Syngenta, Monsanto, FMC and Farmers Grain Terminal for their 10-year commitment in support of Delta F.A.R.M. Mike Sturdivant, Jr., Chairman of Delta F.A.R.M., also recognized the state and federal agency partners who were present before adjourning breakfast and directing guests to Vanlandingham Farms.

At 9:00 a.m., Delta F.A.R.M. Founding Chairman, Billy Percy, formally announced the enrollment of one million acres into the Delta F.A.R.M. Program. Afterwards, Mr. Percy introduced the first guest speaker, Lieutenant Governor Phil Bryant.

The Lieutenant Governor commented, "The organization has raised the bar in terms of setting goals for economic and environmental sustainability in Delta farming." He continued by praising the visionary approach of Delta F.A.R.M.'s leadership and the proactive nature of its membership in addressing environmental challenges in the Delta region.

Jimmy Palmer, Regional Administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 4, took the podium immediately following Lieutenant Governor Bryant.

Mr. Palmer made note of the significant achievements accrued by Delta F.A.R.M. in only 10-years of operation. Among those accomplishments, Palmer commented he was quite proud that "Delta F.A.R.M. is working side-by-side with the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality to help develop a Nutrient Reduction Strategy for the Yazoo-Mississippi Delta." Palmer continued by saying, "Delta F.A.R.M. has rapidly grown to become the preeminent, farmer-led, agricultural conservation organization in Mississippi, and quite possibly one of the strongest in the country."

Operation Pollinator

Operation PollinatorOperation Pollinator aims to provide the essential habitat to boost numbers of crucially important pollinating insects on farmland, to:
  • Protect and enhance overall biodiversity
  • Improve crop yields and quality
  • Secure a sustainable farming and environmental balance

Download Operation Pollinator brochure