ISAP’s Partner Spotlight for the month of January is the Agricultural Drainage Management Coalition! ADMC is an industry-led organization working to enhance crop production and improve water quality outcomes by accelerating the adoption and implementation of conservation drainage practices.
Based in the Midwest, ADMC is leading the advancement of water management practice adoption throughout the United States. ADMC led the charge to develop three new water management NRCS conservation practice standards and has also conducted training for over 130 technical service providers. ADMC has completed NRCS and FSA funded research that led to standard development for practices that have the potential to be installed on over 30 million acres for drainage water management and over 200,000 saturated buffer sites. They were also a lead partner in developing alternative practice delivery methods which increased 10-year practice adoption in Iowa by over 45% in a single year while reducing project expenses by an estimated $115,000.
In 2020, the coalition joined the Illinois Sustainable Ag Partnership, bringing their leadership, expertise and dedication to support ISAP’s work. Keegan Kult, Executive Director of ADMC, serves on ISAP’s education and governance committees. ADMC also provides programmatic support with the planning and facilitation of ISAP’s Advanced Conservation Drainage Training and biennial Risk Management Conference.
Recently, ADMC joined other ISAP partners – The Wetlands Initiative and The Nature Conservancy – for a presentation on conservation drainage during the Illinois Association of Drainage Districts’ Annual Meeting. In the session, ISAP partners shared innovative approaches to scaling up conservation practice adoption in tile drained landscapes. The presentation emphasized the role of conservation practices such as filter strips, constructed wetlands, and saturated buffers in reducing nutrient and sediment losses from agricultural lands. With ADMC’s support, ISAP is developing approaches that make implementation of these practices easier, more efficient, and more attractive to farmers and landowners.
Conservation Drainage Webinar Series
This week, ADMC will kick off their new series, “Learning from Leaders: Accelerating Conservation Drainage Adoption.” The series will explore the adoption of conservation drainage across disciplines, regions, and landscapes. Through five, 75-minute sessions, leading stakeholders will share unique perspectives, engage in dialogue, and generate a set of recommendations to be used to advance conservation drainage adoption locally and nationally. The series is intended for a broad audience of conservation professionals and the producers who implement conservation practices.
During the first webinar, on Thursday, January 26, Dr. J. Arbuckle with Iowa State University and Dr. Linda Prokopy with Purdue University will provide a 45-minute presentation on “A Meta-Analysis of Agricultural Conservation Intentions, Behaviors, and Practices: Insights from 35 Years of Quantitative Literature in the United States”, published September 2022 in the Journal of Environmental Management. Following the presentation, a 30-minute facilitated question/answer/observation discussion among speakers and attendees will focus on how the information presented specifically relates to conservation drainage.
Conservation Drainage Network 2023 Annual Meeting
In April, ADMC plans to host the Conservation Drainage Network 2023 Annual Meeting, bring together international experts to learn about the latest in water management research and implementation. The Annual Meeting is moving out of the Midwest and will be located on the Eastern Shore at the historic Tidewater Inn in Easton, Maryland from April 4th – 6th, 2023. The CDN is an international partnership with the goal of improving drainage practices to meet future demands of crop production while reducing adverse environmental impacts. The CDN meeting brings together a diverse set of stakeholders to learn about the latest in conservation drainage and implementation strategies while providing networking opportunities for future collaborations.
The Annual Meeting aims to:
- Raise awareness of the importance of agricultural water management to farm profitability, local, regional, and national initiatives to advance soil health, water quality, watershed restoration, risk reduction and climate resiliency goals.
- Strengthen understanding of grower concerns and identify impediments to conservation drainage practice adoption.
- Prioritize information needs (i.e., research gaps) to address risks.
- Understand how to advance conservation drainage as an integral component of managing food production, regenerative agriculture, and terrestrial water supplies under changing climate conditions.
- Advance conservation drainage implementation.