If you don’t tell your story, someone else will. As consumers become increasingly concerned about where their food comes from and its environmental footprint, our industry has come to realize the importance of working to tell our story. The story about what really happens on the farm and why we do what we do.
“Our growers are doing the right thing on their farms. They have a pretty good handle on the 4R’s and nutrient management. The problem is that the public is getting so far removed from the farm that they don’t know of the new technology that we and the growers are adapting,” said Bob Williams, Insight FS Agronomy Marketing Manager.
The Sustainable 4RWI (pronounced for our Wisconsin) partnership between Insight FS and the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation was formed to educate elected officials about how farmers and retailers are working together to manage nutrients on the farm through the 4R method. As nutrient concerns continue to crop up in the state and around the country, there is a need to bring firsthand knowledge and experience to decision makers at all levels of government.
The Sustainable 4RWI field day was held on Friday, August 18 at the Rebout Farm and officials/staff from the local, state, and federal level were in attendance. The day began with lunch and then attendees were dismissed to visit the various stations addressing conservation, precision application, nitrogen management. Representatives from Discovery Farms were also present to talk about their water monitoring station on the Rebout Farm and others like it located on farms throughout Wisconsin and Minnesota.
At the conservation station, Dan Rebout explained the conservation practice strip-till and its ability to get nutrients in the right place with minimal soil disruption. Dave Gundlach with Janesville NRCS utilized a rainfall simulator to demonstrate the advantages of this practice over conventional tillage, such as nutrient holding and water filtration.
Insight FS Nutrient Management Specialist Taylor Schuetz showcased variable rate technology (VRT) at the precision application station. VRT maps and application equipment showed how technology allows us to apply the right rate in the right place. Schuetz also shared how we determine the right rate and nutrient source for each field through soil testing.
At the nitrogen management station, Insight FS Crop Specialist Hallie Metcalf discussed the importance of nitrogen and how it is applied during at the right times in the growing season. Metcalf also discussed how stabilizers are “babysitters” used to keep nitrogen where it’s supposed to be (in the right place).
“The officials had legitimate questions that stemmed from the concerns of their constituents,” said Ann Horack, Insight FS Marketing Specialist. “The event allowed them to ask those questions and I believe our answers satisfied their apprehensions about what happens on the farm.”
“These individuals will be making critical decisions about farming practices, so we have got to be out there telling them what we do,” said Williams. “The Rebouts are great about telling their story and were the perfect farm family to start this program.”