July 15, 2010

New discoveries at a farm near you

By Michael Johnson, Editor

Your day-to-day operations may seem like a drop of rain in the ocean, but in some cases there could be a larger environmental impact than you think. One program seeks to give farmers, ranchers and maybe even the average property owner a way to be environmentally conscious while continuing to do business on their land. Discovery Farms is a cooperative program involving North Dakota State University, the North Dakota Department of Health, U.S. Geological Survey and select groups of farmers and ranchers in North Dakota. This program works to better track the effects of a feed lot or agriculture operation on the area through surface and ground water testing. One of the three tracking areas in the state is in Underwood at the farm of Doyle and Patsy Johannes. The Johannes family wasn’t sure what to expect at first. Doyle hears about feed lots being shut down for environmental concerns now and then and the loss of his farm would be devastating. But he realized that relationships must be formed between the farmer and the environmentalists to move forward into the future. "You want a good relationship," Doyle said. The Johannes farm has about 140 cow/calf pairs and when feeding out, there is a capacity of about 900 to 950 cattle.



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