Field to Market, The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, announced this week that its Fieldprint Calculator now incorporates the Water Quality Index (WQI) offered by the USDA’s National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Field to Market’s Fieldprint projects involve partnering with growers to establish voluntary sustainability baselines for the fields they farm. The WQI is expected to help farmers track continuous water quality improvement on their fields.
Developed by the NRCS, the WQI looks at several factors to determine a score for the quality of water leaving a particular field. These factors include field physical sensitivity, nutrient management, tillage management, pest management, irrigation and other conservation practices.
The Fieldprint Calculator is a free, confidential and interactive tool to help growers estimate field level performance on the following sustainability indicators: land use, conservation, soil carbon, irrigation water use, water quality, energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. “Developed by Field to Market using NRCS models and data, the Fieldprint Calculator currently applies to corn, cotton, potato, rice, soybean and wheat operators," says Rod Snyder, president, Field to Market, The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture.
To help determine water quality metrics, farmers are asked a series of online questions. The answers will help farmers see how changes to their management practices (such as moving from conventional tillage to no-till, for example) affect a single water quality score for a given field.
Approximately 400 growers in 10 geographically diverse states are involved in 14 pilot projects. More than 50 organizations are members of Field to Market. To view the members, visit www.fieldtomarket.org.
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Comments expressed by Lynn Grooms are not necessarily those of Farm Industry News or Penton Farm Progress Group.