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Grass filter strips protect water quality

A sign on Jim Day’s barn near Salem proclaims that he’s a River Friendly Farmer. It’s an award promoted by soil and water conservation districts that’s bestowed on several dozen farmers each year. Usually new recipients are recognized during the Indiana State Fair.

What does a River Friendly Farmer do? If you’re Day, you make adjustments on your own farm, then get involved in local projects aimed at improving water quality in the community.

Several tributaries wander through Day’s acreage. Part of it is bordered by pasture, but part lies along cropland. He’s made a concerted effort to establish grass filter strips to help prevent soil and nutrients from washing directly into the stream. Some of his filter strips stretch out over a long distance.

He’s also installed grass waterways on cropland so that water won’t concentrate and create gullies on its way to an outlet. Other things he’s done include changing how he handles manure to prevent runoff.

Off the farm, Day is heavily involved in planning and zoning, a relatively new venture in Washington County. He’s also a member of the advisory board on the Mill Creek/Blue River Watershed project. Working with others on these groups, he can provide input that should lead to other people understanding the importance of water quality, and adapting more “river-friendly” practices.

He and his wife, Marilyn, received their River Friendly Farmer award in 2007. He does his best to continue doing the things that earned them the recognition in the first place.

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Jim Day: A River Friendly Farmer.

This article published in the July, 2011 edition of INDIANA PRAIRIE FARMER.

All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2011.