Water Conservation

Denise McAfee, Leigh, Neb.

Q: What does it mean to “conserve water”?

Denise: Conserving water means not using more water than necessary for any given purpose. For example, we use shade structures to keep our cattle cool and comfortable on hot days, which alleviates the need to use water sprinklers to cool them. Water from livestock waste control systems can also be responsibly repurposed as a source of irrigation and nutrients to growing crops.

The No. 1 thing I want consumers to gain from these conversations is trust. I want consumers to trust that we are raising a healthy, nutritious and sustainable product. I also want consumers to know that farmers will continue our quest to make constant improvements.

Denise McAfee
Leigh, Neb.

Q: How do farmers keep chemicals out of freshwater systems?

Denise: In order to ensure that your water is safe, farmers take soil samples from their fields, which are tested in labs. These test results indicate how much water and fertilizer should be applied. By limiting the fertilizer to the precise amount required, the farmer is protecting the ground and surface water from excessive nitrogen runoff or leaching through the soil.

Q: Is livestock manure contaminating our water supply?

Denise: On our farm, liquid waste from livestock pens is collected in an engineered containment system of settling basins and holding ponds — preventing its entry into streams and waterways. Managing livestock waste in this manner, we have the ability to keep concentrated amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus from entering water resources. Farmers also have the added benefit of reusing these nutrients to grow their next crop in a sustainable manner.

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CornsTalk is a newsletter produced by the Nebraska Corn Board that covers important subjects and provides regular updates on various programs of interest to corn growers and others.