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"BMP Challenge" Boosts Clean Water 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 loses to their crops and income.

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

BMP Challenge for Nutrient Management

In California, farming is a major source of water body impairments. Nutrient runoff, such as nitrogen from fertilizer, combines with irrigation and storm water to degrade freshwater supplies, marine ecosystems and wildlife, and even drinking water that millions of people depend on.

Through the Nutrient Management program, Sustainable Conservation and our partners team up with California farmers to manage nutrients like organic and synthetic fertilizers more effectively. All landowners have to do is enroll one or more fields, coordinate with an appointed crop advisor who recommends balanced nutrient application rates and timing, and manage the field(s) as they normally would through harvest. The program pays for any financial loses due to decreased crop yields.

For more information and to sign up, please contact University of California Cooperative Extension farm advisors Marsha Campbell Mathews or Jennifer Heguy at (209) 525-6800.

> More about Sustainable Conservation's nutrient management initiatives.