New USDA Advisory for Fallow Land Farmers

April 3, 2009 7:41:37 PM PDT
A new advisory designed to prevent soil loss on farmland could actually end up having a negative impact on certain drought-ridden areas.Strong Spring winds in the Central Valley are common especially in West Fresno County.

When agricultural expert Paul Betancourt sees gusts seesawing his trees he knows beneficial nutrients on farmland are being carried away from the soil. "We have limited amounts of organic matter in the soil already," he said.

A new advisory from the Department of Agriculture aims to protect that organic matter and slow wind erosion on land plagued by drought.

Here's the double whammy facing thousands of West Fresno County farmers. There's already a water shortage which is creating thousands of acres of fallow land. Now if farmers want to use that land later on they have to till it, aerate it and weed it. But now they're being told to cut back on that.

Betancourt said, "It's just another straw on the camel's back to have to have this to worry about."

Tilling can also carry off millions of harmful particles creating bad air quality. The USDA now recommends farmers till perpendicular to the wind forming protective ridges and, when possible, use water to produce moist soil.

Betancourt said farmers work to protect the environment but doubts with more than 600,000 acres of bone-dry farm land desperate farmers will use water only to keep the soil moist.

"Here it's just trying to balance out keeping the weeds down without turning the soil into dust," said Betancourt.

      MORE LOCAL NEWS | TWEET@ABC30 | FREE ABC30 WIDGET
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sign up for Breaking News Alerts
Breaking News E-Mail Alerts | Text Message Alerts
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
More News on abc30.com
California/State | National/World | Weather | Entertainment | Business | Politics | Sports | Health Watch | Consumer Watch | Mr. Food |
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Load Comments