Thursday, April 11, 2024

Bates County Soil and Water Conservation


The Bates County Soil and Water Conservation District Annual Cooperator Appreciation event was held March 7, 2024 at the Adrian Optimist Building, Adrian, MO.  94 people attended and enjoyed a catered meal served by Bates County Cattlemen’s.

The program included speakers from partner agencies. An update on staffing in her 4 county Field Office Service Area (FOSA) was given by Katrina O’Farrell, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Katrina mentioned NRCS in Bates County is currently managing 20 CSP contracts and 33 EQIP contracts. NRCS has issued about $400,000.00 in EQIP and $200,000.00 in CSP payments since our FY24 started which was October 2023; Mike Finely, Farm Service Agency (FSA), gave a brief overview of conservation programs and upcoming deadlines, talked about other programs like NAP and other Safety Net programs, mentioned Farm Loan programs available and handled out of the Nevada office, mentioned there were two job opening in Rural Development office in Butler and encouraged attendees that if they ever had any questions to contact the USDA office.  Cody Tebbenkamp, Department of Natural Resources (DNR), updated us on the FY23 State Cost Share spending of $39,999,999.34 state wide, for FY24 we are looking to spend nearly all or all of our $50,000,000.00 spending appropriation. Bates County has $17,700.00 in ACT NOW contracts. DNR is monitoring the appearance of another drought in 2024 with over 90% of the state in either abnormally dry or D1 drought status contentions; Jim Plassmeyer, DNR Director of the Soil and Water Program, gave us some history of cost share practices implemented in the county since 1985. There have been 3,853 contracts addressing 179,201 acres which is just over 3 times the size of Truman Lake. There have been 1,182,153 tons of soil saved. With 14 tons per load, that would be 84,440 dump truck loads. This is enough soil saved to cover 3 football fields with an inch of soil. There were 737,657 feet of terraces installed which is approximately 140 miles. Here are some Highlighted changes since 1985: Trends in farming – no-till, cover crops, rotational grazing; New Technology used in farming – GPS, seed hybrids, autonomous tractors; Fewer Farmers; Parks Soils and Water Sales Tax passing 4 times; Brad Powell, District Technician for the Bates County Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD), explained how we help landowners address and implement practices to reduce soil erosion; State Representative, Dane Diehl, introduced himself and talked about what it’s like to be a farm boy, discussed the counties that he covers as a representative, mentioned a couple of bills that he’s sponsored, talked about the life of a being a representative and what  his typical daily and weekly schedule on capitol hill looked like. 

The Annual Fourth Grade Poster Contest is always a favorite part of our banquet and this year was no exception.  This year’s theme was “May The Forest Be With You Always” 189 fourth graders from eight area schools participated.  A first place winner is selected from each class; four county winners are then selected from this group and announced at the banquet.  The top contest winners from each class receive a ribbon and a cash prize.

This year’s Bates County winners are as follows:

4th Place – Braxton Schenker – Rich Hill Elementary, son of Scott & Brittany Schenker

3rd Place – Nichole Luper – Ballard Elementary, daughter of Lindsay Luper

2nd Place – Stella Jennings – Zion Lutheran, daughter of Dallas & Suzanne Jennings

1st Place – Hannah McBrayer – Butler Elementary, daughter of Jared & Kayla McBrayer

Each county winner received a plaque in addition to the ribbon and cash prize for their first place class win.  The first place county poster will advance to the State level competition.  State Poster Contest winners will be announced at the Annual Training Conference held in November, at TanTarA Resort.  We would like to thank the schools, teachers and parents for allowing their students to be a part of this activity.  We are especially thankful to all the students who submitted a poster.  You are the future of our Conservation nation.  Each and every one of the posters showed a genuine interest in preserving our Natural Resources through good conservation practices.  

Board Members in attendance were: Mike Rapp, Chairman; David Yarick, Vice-Chairman; Ramon Arancibia, Secretary; Tyler Reinke, Treasurer and David Thurman, Member. 

Personnel attending were NRCS Staff: Katrina O’Farrell. SWCD Staff: Brad Powell and Elizabeth Davis.

We would like to thank everyone that attended our Appreciation Banquet.  Your presence was much appreciated and we hope the evening was as enjoyable for our guests as it was for our Board Members and Staff.

Information released by email from Elizabeth Davis 



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