The Natural Resources Water Quality Fund (NRWQF) was created in 2001 to provide state funds to Natural Resources Districts for their Water Quality Programs. The Fund receives monies from the receipt of portions of certain fees levied by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture for pesticide registration and applicator licenses. By statute, these funds can only be used by NRDs and only for water quality programs. Use of the fund for a wide variety of water quality related measures, both for surface water and ground water, is permitted. NRDs are required to provide three dollars match for each two dollars of state funds received. The Department of Natural Resources rules and regulations govern administration of the NRWQF.
The ULNRD will provide cost share funds for deep soil testing to landowners in the district. Funds are available to cover 70¢ per field acre up to $400 per landowner. The purpose of this cost-share program is to encourage producers to manage fertilizer application better by accounting for available nitrate-nitrogen that already exists in the soil root zone and irrigation water. Concern about unnecessary over-application of nitrogen fertilizer that could leach out of the root zone and contaminate groundwater supplies makes the practice desirable. Cooperators are asked to line up professional consultants to do the testing and furnish copies of their results and billing to receive reimbursement. Applications can be obtained by phone request, stopping at the Thedford office or online through the following link:
Have you ever had your soil tested? Should you? Here are some good reasons why you should have a soil test performed.
1. Soil testing is an important diagnostic tool to evaluate nutrient imbalances and understand plant growth.
4. Protection of our environment for we cannot afford to pollute our surface and ground waters by indiscriminate application of phosphorous or nitrogen fertilizers, for example.
5. Cost savings - Why apply what you don't need? Soil test results provide information about the soil's ability to supply nutrients to plants for adequate growth, and are the basis of deciding how much lime and fertilizer are needed.
When do I soil test? Sampling can be done at any time, but late October or early November is usually preferable. Avoid sampling when the soil is very wet or recently limed or fertilized.
What tests are performed? The basic soil test results will tell you the pH of the soil, organic matter (nutrient holding capacity), available phosphorous (P), and available potassium (K). The soil may also be tested for Nitrate (N), magnesium (Mg), calcium (Ca), sulfur (S), boron (B), manganese (Mn) and zinc (Zn).
Who takes the soil samples? Your local County Extension offices can instruct you on how to take samples yourself. There are businesses that you can contact that will obtain the sample for you, one such group is your local Farmer’s Coop.
The Upper Loup Natural Resources District (ULNRD) understands the importance of soil testing and has a cost-share program to help land owners defray part of the costs associated with testing. For more information or to obtain a cost-share application you can contact our office at 308-645-2250.