Farmers are good stewards to the land. We take care of the land, the land takes care of us.
What we don't do well is showing the rest of the world what we do - and how good a job we are doing. REACH is my way of collecting the data to show how good a job we are doing.
Jeremy Jack, an owner of the Silent Shade Planting Company in Belzoni, uses a variety of conservation methods on the family's cotton, corn, soybean, rice, and wheat farm in Humphreys County.
"At the Silent Shade Planting Company, environmental stewardship means the same to us as it does to every other farmer," Jack said. "We're good stewards of the land. We take care of the land, and the land takes care of us." He accomplishes this goal with careful irrigation and minimum tillage practices.
Jack said many of their fields are graded for furrow irrigation. A raised pad surrounds fields on four sides, and the fields are sloped so water runs to one end. A riser is installed at the low end to slow the water speed before it exits into a drainage ditch. Water that is drained is either pumped out onto another field or held in a reservoir for later use.
"We have wells that pull groundwater out of the aquifer and pump two thousand to three thousand gallons per minute," Jack said. "We try to water twenty-five acres per twelve hours on each of our fields. This allows us to get the water on and the water off so we do not damage the crops by watering them."
This system slows erosion and prevents depletion of the aquifer.
"We believe that using surface and reclaimed water allows us to have an aquifer long-term rather than short-term," he said.
Silent Shade Planting Company also uses one-trip plows to prepare fields after harvest for the next planting. "This lowers our cost, lowers passes across the field, lowers erosion, and allows us to grow a good crop the next year with high yields and accomplish everything with just one pass," Jack said.
"REACH is my way of collecting the data to show how well we are doing," Jack said.