Whitman County farmers employ conservation measures on the Palouse

PULLMAN, WA - March 25th is National Agriculture Day, which means today is a good day to thank a farmer and celebrate the abundance that agriculture provides.

Reporter Rachel Dubrovin explains how the Palouse Conservation District can help local farmers protect natural resources while getting the most out of their land.

The Palouse Conservation District held a workshop for Whitman County farmers Monday night to discuss environmental problems, and solutions.

"Everything we do is voluntary, it's at the landowners request that they want to do a conservation project," said PCD District Manager Jennifer Boie.

The district assists landowners in order to help them control things like weeds and erosion, while protecting air and water quality.

"There's a lot of resources available to the landowner," said Furchtenicht.

Representatives from Washington's Department of Fish and Wildlife explained the importance of wildlife habitats in areas bordering farms, and on land that's taken out of production. They said they're especially valuable because wildlife habitats will attract birds, which can help farmers with insect control.

"But when you're looking for perennial diversity that sort of lasts on its own, we've had our best luck with native species," said WA. Department of Fish and Wildlife Vegetation Ecologist Kurt Merg.

One of the main concerns of the Palouse Conservation District is protecting bodies of water like this stream from chemicals and fertilizers.

"Lots of streams and rivers actually provide shallow aquifer recharge in many areas that people depend on for their water, or for their stock water," said PCD CREP Coordinator Mike Denny.

Farmers can protect streams using riparian restoration, which strategically places plants and trees near banks to block chemical runoff.

"... to stop erosion from farm chemical residues from reaching water sources," said Denny.

While the Palouse Conservation District can help farmers acquire government funding to take on wildlife restoration projects they can also simply provide advice that will allow the land owner to conserve without having to commit to a contract.

The Palouse Conservation District is one of four districts in Whitman County, for more information, head to their website.