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Program Encourages Conservation While Boosting Production

Instead of fighting nature, a program in Nebraska is encouraging growers to work with it. 

“It’s called the Divots in the Pivots program,” said Andy Bishop, coordinator of the Rainwater Basin Joint Venture. “Through this program we facilitate partnerships between organizations and landowners to figure out the best programs and practices for their situation.”

The program is part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Regional Conservation Partnership Program. It is supported by Rainwater Basin Joint Venture partners, including the Upper Big Blue Natural Resources District (NRD) that received the grant, as well as, several other agencies and corporate partners - including Lindsay Corporation.

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“Through this program we are able to provide funding to help growers restore wetlands on their property while cost sharing on pivot upgrades to maximize irrigation efficiency and production on adjacent cropland acres,” Bishop said. “We’re taking a whole field approach to conservation. We work with the producers to identify solutions that will work for particular fields – including Variable Frequency Drive (VFD) panels, Variable Rate Irrigation components and NFTrax® airless wheel assemblies.”

Still in the demonstration phase, three producers are currently enrolled in the program, and Bishop is working with partners to sign up another seven before the end of the year.

“These wetlands provide habitat for an estimated 8.6 million waterfowl that migrate through Nebraska – including endangered ones, like the whooping crane,” Bishop said. “They stop here to rest and refuel before continuing migration. What happens here affects them on the breeding grounds.” 

For more information about the Divots in the Pivots program, visit www.rwbjv.org or call 308-382-8112.