By Courtney Hall
Spencer County Soil and Water Conservation District, Program Administrator
This year was the final year for the 2012 Clean Water Indiana Grant for Spencer County, a joint watershed-based project between Dubois, Crawford, Gibson, Orange, Pike, and Spencer Counties. Spencer County consisted of roughly 9% of the watershed.
In 2013, due to a wet fall, few cover crops were sewn in time to be funded by the grant in the Hunley Creek Watershed, a small watershed which drains north into the Patoka River through Dubois County from Spencer County. Early in 2014, we sent out notices to the producers of Hunley Creek Watershed. We had no response. We sent out another notice to the producers with applications attached. We had one response. We published notices in the paper, Facebook and our website. The Spencer County SWCD had a slight problem: How to “spend” the last of our money for the grant when no one seemed to be interested. It looked like we may have to give back the unused portion of the money and risk not having cover crops cost-shared in this final year of the grant. Our Supervisors began speaking to every producer they knew in the watershed, which really helped, but we were still falling short. We still were facing a dilemma until an idea struck the staff of the SWCD and Nick Held, our Purdue Extension representative. Meet them where they are!
We scheduled a Cover Crop Seminar at 7 AM in the only town in the watershed which had a meeting place! After sending a personal invitation and calling every phone number for the producer we could find, we had several producers show for the event. We had Paul Giles, Associate Supervisor and veteran cover crop producer address the crowd about what his operation has found with many years of trial and error. Nearly every producer who came was interested in applying for the cost-share program. We had a total of 10 applications consisting of more than 450 acres of cover crops. We were able to fund cost-share assistance on more than 300 acres jointly with SWCD and the CWI funds. Jamen Frederick, Resource Specialist with the Indiana State Department of Agriculture assisted Amy Sims, Spencer County District Technician, to spot-check that the cover was germinating. Bringing conservation funds into our county, helping educate our citizens and helping make our county a better place to live, is part of our mission! To keep up with our county, “find us” on Facebook or visit our website: www.spencerswcd.org.
Paul Giles discusses Cover Crops with the Hunley Creek producers at our Cover Crop Seminar
Arial application of cover crops over a corn field
ISDA Resource Specialist Jamen Frederick with a tillage radish.
Amy Sims, District Technician, holding tillage radish.