Researchers Investigate Agricultural Water Usages And Conservation

 More than 5,000 row crop producers from 38 Tennessee counties will be              
 selected to participate in a survey focused on irrigation and conservation              
 practices. Surveys will be mailed in January and February and participation
 is strongly encouraged and appreciated.

 Photo by G. Rowsey, courtesy UTIA

Will Survey Row Crop Producers In 38 Tennessee Counties

   University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture researchers are conducting a survey of row crop producers to better understand how Tennessee producers use irrigation and conservation practices. The anonymous surveys will be distributed by mail in January and February, and if chosen, producers are strongly urged to participate.
   “It is important to understand how our producers cope with the uncertainty of weather-related fluctuation in crop yields,” says Aaron Smith, assistant professor and crop marketing specialist with the University of Tennessee’s Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.     “Learning about the different coping strategies farmers use during weather stressed seasons would increase the library of information available to all producers.”
   More than 5,000 producers in 38 Middle and West Tennessee counties have been selected to participate. The survey focuses on the use of irrigation, conservation tillage, and cover crops by row crop farmers and is part of a larger project designed to increase the resilience of Tennessee’s agricultural sector to changes in water availability.
   “Although we’d like to survey every Tennessee producer, we are limited by costs,” says Smith. “The cooperation of selected participants will help provide vital information about the current state of agricultural water uses and water conserving technologies.”
   For years, Tennessee’s farmers have been on the forefront of no-till farming. New irrigation management technologies are also available to some producers. Cover crops may also positively affect soil moisture and fertility. Combined, these technologies may help producers manage the adverse impacts of prolonged dry periods or drought.
   Economists are also interested in understanding how producers manage production risk using these practices. Researchers will summarize and publish their findings through UT Extension publications and the popular press.
   The survey is part of a USDA-funded project titled “Increasing the Resilience of Agricultural Production in the Tennessee and Cumberland River Basins Through More Efficient Water Resource Use.” Click here to read more about the project.
   Counties where producers are to be surveyed include:  Benton, Carroll, Cheatham, Chester, Crockett, Davidson, Decatur, Dickson, Dyer, Fayette, Gibson, Giles, Hardeman, Hardin, Haywood, Henderson, Henry, Hickman, Houston, Humphreys, Lake, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Lewis, Madison, Marshall, Maury, McNairy, Montgomery, Obion, Perry, Robertson, Shelby, Stewart, Tipton, Wayne, Weakley and Williamson. ∆

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