Legvold’s legacy in water quality, soil conservation and no tillage
A Northfield farmer is on the cutting edge of environmental issues. Dave Legvold has been a dedicated conservationist on his family corn and soybean farm for decades and most recently hosted a media farm tour about the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification program. Legvold taught science and environmental studies for Richfield for decades and says water quality issues are in his blood. While the crops he grows may be conventional, his methods are not. He doesn’t use tillage. He says there are definite soil and water benefits to NOT turning the soil and doing heavy tillage each year. In the last 50 years, they’ve learned that plowing is one of the great destroyers of soil. Legvold says Scientific American came out with an article that said, “if we continue tilling our soils heavily, we have about 60 years of productive agriculture in the U.S. Which is a scary thought”. He says it’s a very difficult thing to bring about change, especially when it incites fear in some. Legvold has worked with Carleton and St. Olaf students who do scientific research of the way he farms and verify that it’s financially advantageous to reduce tillage and “the scientists are telling us that if you reduce tillage there are many many benefits including water quality”. This new voluntary program is designed to give farmers a chance to examine their practices and see how it measures up against water quality and soil conservation. Local experts work with farmers with a field-‐by-‐field risk assessment. It assures farmers that any new regulations that come along that impact water quality and the way they farm, they will not be held to those new regulations. Farmers in the program will receive priority for technical and financial assistance to implement the practices. Legvold’s interview is online at kymnradio.net.
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