By Perri Campis, Flint River Soil and Water Conservation District
Farming is a business. Farmers care about Smart Irrigation because in business, efficiency translates to a benefit to your bottom line.
Efficiency is the core of Smart Irrigation. It includes using decades of research to understand the specific water needs of crops based on soil moisture, soil type, stage of growth, crop, and soil temperature. It means implementing innovative tools that allow for a more targeted application of water, getting more of that water to the soil and crop roots. Smart Irrigation ultimately allows farmers to make watering decisions to increase yield potential and only turn on water when absolutely necessary because less power use, increased yields, better crop quality—this is what keeps the business operating.
“Drought years can be devastating for a farm,” says Adam McClendon, farmer in Calhoun County. “Without irrigation you literally can make a zero yield. It can be the end of your career, and the end of your way of life.”
But Farming is more than a business. And we know that farmers care about more than their bottom line; the balance of business and natural resource stewardship is what makes agriculture so unique, driven by deep ties to land that supports them and their livelihood. Often times farming families having generational ties to this same land.
“I was born on the Flint River,” says Glenn Cox, farmer in Mitchell County, who was recently featured on the Conservation Through Innovation film. “I do whatever I can to save this river, because it’s not just my generation, it’s the generations to come.”
Farmers continuously show they care through educational opportunities for fellow farmers or non-agricultural communities alike. This Smart Irrigation Month, Murray Campbell, a farmer in Mitchell County, showed he cared by hosting participants of the Institute of Georgia Environmental Leadership on his farm.
Attendees who had never stepped foot on a farm before were able to see firsthand how soil moisture sensors collect data, and how that data is used in Smart Phone apps, such as Irrigator Pro, to make irrigation decisions.
Farmers show they care through leadership—they are advocates within their own communities for the conservation of these natural resources through community groups, elected office, and leadership positions in local organizations or Boards.
“We are so very fortunate to have access to such good, clean water for our crops,” says Keith Cromartie, a farmer in Dougherty County, and new District Supervisor for the Flint River Soil and Water Conservation District. “Any chance given to protect and conserve it—we should do so for ourselves and future generations.”
Learn more about how farmers care at smartirrgiationgeorgia.com.