Crops, Collaboration and Conservation

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A budding partnership for sustainable, profitable and conservation-friendly family farms across the country.

By Rachel Bush, Conservation Programs Manager for PF & QF, and Tanner Bruse, Ag & Conservation Programs Manager for PF in Minnesota

Last spring, when crops were green and upland birds were nesting nearby, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever entered a partnership with the American Society of Agronomy (ASA). The purpose of this perhaps “odd couple” relationship? To connect the technical experts within each organization to increase knowledge and understanding, and most importantly, to work together identifying opportunities to increase our collective tools for helping farmers achieve their conservation goals.

Working together we can compare agronomic, precision and conservation opportunities to better present all the various options available to farmers. Now, not even a year later, pheasants and quail are tucked into their winter hideouts, and these two groups have already found multiple opportunities to work together.

Helping Farmers Understand Their Conservation Opportunities

The first opportunity was to gather information on interest and need among ASA’s network on conservation opportunities. That work identified topics ranging from conservation programs and pollinators to profitability. These topics will now be developed into educational webinars, allowing Certified Crop Advisers to expand their knowledge of conservation practices and programs. This will help Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever technical staff to better connect and understand on-farm decision-making, and ultimately remove barriers to conservation adoption.

Working together strengthens our ability to find a variety of voluntary solutions on the farm and continue to evolve dialogue with farmers when it comes to making decisions at the field and operation level. Increasing profitability and farmer return-on-investment comes in all shapes and sizes, which includes both agronomic and conservation delivery.

Together we can take this a step further, to the farm door, with conversations based around crops, collaboration and conservation. Together we can increase awareness and harness multiple benefits. Together we can deliver sustainable and climate-smart agriculture. Together we can utilize technology and the” latest and greatest” in agriculture. Together we can do all of this while putting the farmer first and helping them achieve their operational goals.

Teaming Up at Commodity Classic

We are elevating this partnership to have a shared presence at Commodity Classic in March 2022. If you spend more time afield behind a bird dog than in a tractor seat, you’re probably asking, “What is a commodity classic?

Commodity Classic is an event unlike any other in agriculture. It brings farm groups, input suppliers, equipment dealers and ag professionals together in one place for informational sessions, a trade show and association events. It also happens to bring together farmers from across the pheasant and quail range. For the bird dog follower, think of it as “The Pheasant Fest and Quail Classic of Agriculture”!

Quoting from the website: “At Commodity Classic, you’ll get the answers, solutions and information you need to gain greater clarity —and create a vision for your farm’s success for years to come.

Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever and the American Society of Agronomy share a vision of creating and maintaining sustainable, profitable and conservation-friendly family farms across the country. That’s why we will be right there, celebrating the partnership, sharing information and making connections with those who make decisions on the land.

The benefits of these collaborations will lead to action on the ground to positively impact a range of interests: thriving rural communities; prosperous family farms; and the public benefits of our natural resources to the wildlife — gamebirds and otherwise — that our members and farmers enjoy year ’round.

Strengthening our hunting and farming traditions by working together yields benefits beyond the field and the local coffee shop. Embracing the multiple conservation opportunities available between the rows, in-field and the edge-of-field practices is good for everybody involved.

Join us in person at Commodity Classic, or follow along on social media as we continue working together to achieve multiple benefits. If you’re at Commodity Classic, swing by and we can guarantee you we will discuss three topics: Crops, collaboration and conservation.