Thursday, April 21, 2011

Celebrate Earth Day, COME ON, Let's Celebrate!

Thank you Kool & The Gang for inspiration for this title....."Ya Hoo! There's a party going on right here!"
Isn't that introduction to this entry just a clinic in professionalism!  Ha!

Well, it is that time of year to celebrate!  We have Earth Day, Easter, Arbor Day, and Soil and Water Stewardship Week and a bonus....... it's Springtime!  What an awesome time of year.  All of these occasions give us the opportunity to celebrate nature, the planet, life and our precious natural resources which are essential to our quality of life.

Let's don't forget ...... the May Apples are up, Trilliums and Redbuds are blooming, we have plenty of rain, so what am I getting at?????? MUSHROOMS!  Oh yeah!

Now I am an avid hiker and I know my way around a woods, but I am lousy at spotting these little buggers or as I tell my kids, "The mushrooms are too fast and sneaky for us."  The problem is that I love those little fungi and my friends keep sending Facebook pictures of these gi-normous delectables just to rub it in!
A picture of my boys coming to grips with the reality that,
"Dad can't find mushrooms!"

Okay, okay, enough about mushrooms, but more about the woods and in particular trees and tree planting.  Sidenote: It just so happens that this year's theme for Soil and Water Stewardship Week is "Forests".

So why do I bring this up when I usually talk agriculture?  A couple of reasons, but I'll focus more on the 2nd.
#1 - The hardwood industry is huge in Indiana, I won't dig into the details now, but supporting this industry in Indiana is a major component of our Economic Development focus within the Indiana State Department of Agriculture.
#2 - In Indiana, some of the land utilized currently for row crop agriculture is better suited and more sustainable both economically and environmentally as forest or woodland.

Regarding the second point, especially the floodplain fields where in certain seasons farmers are forced to replant repeatedly due to flooding, perform continual clearing of floodwater debris, and regularly repair fields due to the erosive nature of floodwaters.  All of these factors can lead to economic losses and plainly they can can be more headaches than they are worth to some folks.  An option to row crop farming is planting trees.
A new planting just this spring in Western Indiana.

Commonly referred to as a Bottomland Hardwood Tree Planting, this practice can be cost-shared and the landowner can receive incentives through various programs such as the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP).  Someday these areas become forests and are extremely valuable habitats along rivers and streams serving as homes to many wildlife species such as: Bald Eagles, Herons, River Otters, Leopard Frogs, and various salamanders.
Young bald cypress in a recently planted floodplain shortly after a flood event.
So, this year let's celebrate forests and trees and the value that they can bring to agriculture and the environment.  Enough of these ramblings, you should stop reading now and get yourself outside and soak up a little Springtime and have a very happy EARTH DAY, April 22, 2011.
A young Bottomland Tree Planting in North-central Indiana.
Mature Floodplain Forest

1 comment:

  1. I would love to plant some red bud trees on the farm once we get all our landscaping figured out! I, too, would also like to find some morels, but that would require me to get out of the house, and it just won't quit raining! The only reason Benton County is not in a Flood Warning stage is that we have no rivers to flood I guess, BUT some of out ditches and waterways are having aspirations to bigger and faster water status. There is no place for our water to go, so the roads will be disappearing if we get much more!