Preston eagerly signed up to bring innovative water-saving practices to his fields. These practices were developed by researchers and then brought to working farms like Preston’s through a powerful partnership made up of The Nature Conservancy, the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Flint River Soil and Water Conservation District.
Water Only Where You Need It
One technology allows farmers to irrigate more precisely, shutting off water-spraying nozzles over ponds, roads or other areas where crops don’t grow. “We’ve been able to micromanage exactly which part of the fields get watered,” he says.
Another tool, soil moisture sensors, gives Preston and other farmers real-time data about how much water is in the ground. “We can better predict when we should irrigate, or whether we should irrigate at all.”
These practices are paying off for Preston and many other farmers in the area. “There’s no more running to the field each day and trying to decide if I need to irrigate today or whether I can wait until tomorrow. It’s given me the confidence to know that I’m doing the exact right thing at the exact right time.”
This confidence allows Preston to know that he is teaching his children an important lesson. “If I can get involved now and lead [my children] in a positive direction then at the end of the day, that’s the biggest gain.”