• Lon Tonneson

    Urban runoff gets attention

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on January 8, 2015

    Kudos to South Dakota Extension Service for talking about urban runoff and how it affects water quality. “Many of the problems regarding nutrients, sediments and harmful bacteria in South Dakota's water begin with runoff from urban landscapes,” says Daniel Ostrem, SDSU Extension water resource field specialist.. Although runoff from agricultural lands in South Dakota has the largest impact on water quality, urban landscapes also play a large role in water quality, according to…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Wetland Mitigation Bank Coming to South Dakota

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on November 4, 2014

    At last – a wetland mitigation bank is coming to the Dakotas, or South Dakota at least. The South Dakota Farm Bureau says it has been awarded a $75,000 Conservation Innovation Grant from the Natural Resource Conservation Service to develop a first-ever agricultural wetland mitigation banking system for South Dakota. “There has been a clear need for some type of wetland mitigation bank for many years, but there’s never before been a system for getting it done. Farm Bureau is…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Climate Change Didn’t Spawn Atlas Blizzard

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on October 30, 2014

    I get all riled up by all the climate change talk. But usually when I watch or read something about the topic, I’ll grumble, “Well, they discovered weather.” I get especially upset with Minnesota Public Radio, which incessantly talks about climate change as if the world is going to end. And don’t get me started on the major news networks. In the opening segment of each nightly news cast, its seems as if they talk about some storm that is bearing down on millions…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Bufferfly Protection Adds To Farm Burden

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on October 27, 2014

    Oh no, I thought, when I read that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service placed two butterflies in the Dakotas on its threatened and endangered species list. It will become another thing that wildlife and conservation groups will use to tell farmers how to manage land that they own and pay taxes on, I thought. It will become another thing to prevent grain growers from converting grassland to cropland. It will become another thing to use as a lever to take back wetlands. I suppose I’m…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    NRCS Answers Complaint About Using Ducks Unlimited Staff

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on September 26, 2014

    Mary Podoll, state conservation for the natural Resources Conservation Service in North Dakota, says it’s true that Ducks Unlimited personnel are working for the NRCS. Three biologists, who are getting half their salary from DU, are on staff. But they are only doing conservation planning for farmers who have voluntary enrolled in programs such as CRP and EQIP. They are not working on wetland compliance or wetland determinations, she says. The North Dakota Grain Growers Association…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    The Wetlands Mess

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on July 31, 2014

     A public forum on wetland determinations in the heart of Prairie Pothole country the other day drew a crowd of about 350 people, according to the Aberdeen American News. A backlog of nearly 2,993 requests for wetland determinations in South Dakota – some two years old – prompted the South Dakota Soybean Association, South Dakota Corn Growers Association, South Dakota Farm Bureau Federation, South Dakota Farmers Union and state’s Congressional offices – to call for…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    South Dakota Ranch Wins Conservation Award

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on April 24, 2014

    I am pleased that Rock Hills Ranch, Lowry, S.D., is the 2014 Leopold Conservation Award winner in South Dakota. Lyle and Garnet Perman and their son, Luke, and his wife, Naomi, certainly deserve the award. They are working, not to just sustain what they have on the ranch now, but also to bring back the native grassland to what it once was. I visited their ranch last year and published three different articles in the Dakota Famer about their ranch: Working together (Jan. 2014, page…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Another Wetland Snafu

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on April 18, 2014

    About a dozen farmers near the small northeast South Dakota town of Claremont recently received wetland violation letters for a ditch they say they dug to save their town from flooding in 2011. They claim they received permission from the township, the county and even the local NRCS wetland specialist (now retired) for the project. No federal money was involved. No cost sharing. The landowners got together, pooled their money and dug the canal themselves. Now, three years later, someone has…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Carbon Credits Coming For Grassland

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on November 6, 2013

    Farmers and ranchers who maintain grassland easements in the Dakotas might be able to earn an extra one time payment of $16 to $25 per acre in carbon credits in the future. Ducks Unlimited, NRCS and several private organizations have created a carbon credit program for grasslands. Enrolled land could not be tilled, but it could be put in a conservation program or used for grazing and/or haying. The carbon credit payment would be in addition to any conservation easement payments. The payment…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    CRP Conversion Alone Isn't To Blame For Pheasant Decline

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on September 5, 2013

    South Dakota pheasant numbers are down, but farmers aren’t completely to blame. That’s what I conclude from reports about South Dakota Game Fish and Game Parks Department's annual roadside survey of pheasants. GF&P cited the decline in habitat -- the conversion of CRP and grassland to cropland -- as one of the reasons behind the drop in the index of pheasants per mile from 4.19 last year to 1.52 this year. But the GF&P says “months of persistent…

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