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Conservation Tillage

"BMP Challenge" Boosts Clean Air in California

Since 1998, nine states throughout the U.S. have participated in the BMP Challenge. The goal for 2009 is to triple the number of acres enrolled in the program. Doing so would cut nearly 8 million tons of carbon and more than 750,000 pounds of nitrogen.

In partnership with Sustainable Conservation, American Farmland Trust is bringing its popular "Best Management Practices Challenge" to California to promote a healthy environment and economy in the nation's most productive agricultural state.

The BMP Challenge rewards farmers for adopting practices that protect natural resources by reimbursing them for potential losses to their crops and income.

That way, farmers have nothing to lose in helping clean up California.

BMP Challenge for Reduced Tillage

Through the Reduced Tillage program, Sustainable Conservation is promoting less-intensive cultivation practices like conservation tillage to reduce air pollution, improve public health and save farmers money.

California's Central Valley has some of the dirtiest air in the nation. One out of six children in the San Joaquin Valley alone has asthma. Dust and diesel emissions from tractors and other farm equipment contribute to the Valley's air-pollution challenges.

Conservation tillage involves incorporating up to 30% of a previous crop's residue in the soil and continuously planting a new crop in a way that minimizes soil disturbance. Doing so reduces the number of tractor passes required to prepare a field for planting. Besides dramatically reducing dust and diesel emissions, conservation tillage results in noteworthy reductions in fuel, maintenance and labor costs – all without harming crop yield.

For more information and to sign up, contact Ladi Asgill, Sustainable Conservation Senior Project Manager, at (209) 576-7729 or lasgill@suscon.org.

> 2009 BMP Challenge application.

> More about conservation tillage.