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Winter 2014 - Edition 2

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Energy Audits
A Planning Tool

     Energy audits or whole-farm energy planning is the first step toward energy-saving opportunities. Grant County Conservation District is currently working with several producers to complete Agricultural Energy Management Plans (AgEMP), also called energy audits, through the EQIP Energy Initiative. NRCS will provide cost-share incentives for the development of an AgEMP which evaluates energy used in the cultivation, protection, harvesting, processing, and storage of crops and in the feeding, housing, and processing of animals and animal products. The EQIP Energy Initiative is a unique, multi-faceted "whole-farm" approach that will help producers look at where and how energy is being used in their farming operations.
     To best meet the needs of the diverse types and sizes of Grant County farms and ranches, there are two types of energy programs: Headquarters and Landscape.
     The Headquarters program identifies ways to conserve energy on farmsteads which includes buildings and equipment used around the farmstead. The Landscape program analyzes agricultural operations from planting through harvest starting with the benchmark, or existing condition, through the development of planned alternatives with associated comprehensive economic analysis. The AgEMP is a tool producers can use to make cost effective improvements to the management and physical components of their farming operation.
     NRCS provides financial assistance for Farm energy audits and financial assistance to implement recommended energy conservation practices on your farm or ranch.
     Energy audits (AgEMPs) are developed by certified Technical Service Providers (TSPs) and will take only a few hours of your time. Once you have an approved AgEMP you will be eligible to receive assistance to implement recommended conservation practices.
     If you are interested in an energy audit on your farm you can contact the Grant County Conservation District (509)765-9618 or your local NRCS field office (509)754-3023 for additional information on how the program works.
     The State Conservation Commission can be contacted at (360)407-6200. Filing deadline for candidates is January 13, 2015 by 5:00 PM. 

GCCD Cooperator's Cows Are In High Demand

     Tucked away on a scenic side road south of Quincy you'll find the Monument Farms Dairy, owned and operated by Dan and LaDawn Reynolds. Although considered mid-sized in terms of cow numbers and acreage, the dairy is a superstar when it comes to high quality herd genetics. Dan's interest in cow-breeding is a passion he acquired when he was a 13 year-old and purchased his first registered heifer.
     One bull in particular, named Monument Impression, comes from the Reynold's dairy. Monument Impression is one of the top three bulls worldwide when it comes to body type (conformation). He was Outcross Bull of the Year for North America featured in Holstein International Magazine. Impression is now owned by the Canadian company Semex. His "genetic material" is in high demand for artificial insemination on dairies around the world.
     Monument Impression is a half-brother to another award-winning bull named Robust, which based on his genetics, is currently the second highest-rated bull in the world. His daughter, Monument Robust Belinda, is part of the Reynold's breeding herd presiding at the Quincy dairy.
     Belinda is currently one of the top-ranked female cows in the world according to a process called genomic testing. Modern technology has allowed dairy cows to be ranked by predicting their likelihood of being a very productive member of a herd through genomic testing. In simple terms, a cow's performance and subsequent value can all be determined by testing the DNA from a single hair sample gathered from a cow's tail.
     Many dairy traits are determined using genomic testing, not just overall milk production as one might suspect. A few of those traits include: long term cow health, calving ease, body type (conformation), and fertility.
     Because of her high quality genetics, Monument Robust Belinda is currently being "flushed" for multiple artificial insemination contracts. Flushing simply means having embryos removed and inserted into recipient cows for gestation. A cow may have several embryos produced during each ovulation. Dairies all over the world are eager to pay good money for embryos and semen as a way to improve their herds. In some cases royalty payments can continue for many years.
     Dan Reynolds has been a friend of the District for many years. We have worked with him on many water-quality improvement projects. It's nice to know, and quite impressive, that one of our own Grant County CD cooperators is famous in dairy circles for his herd improvement accomplishments.

District Supervisor Election
February 10, 2015

    The Board of Supervisors for Grant County Conservation District has one elected position available. This position is an unpaid, volunteer, two-year term ending in 2017 with an average time commitments of 3-10 hours per month. The position is open to anyone who is a land owner/registered voter within the Grant County Conservation District boundaries.
     Board members and associate supervisors direct the district's focus and work. The district works with youth, agencies, industry, and most importantly farmers to accomplish natural resource conservation goals. Our current programs emphasize water, soil, and air quality issues, along with education and youth activities.
     Election location: GCCD Office, 1107 S Juniper DR, Moses Lake, WA  98837;  Time: 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM.
     Eligible Voters:  All land owners/registered voters residing within the Grant County Conservation District.
     Applications may be picked up at the GCCD office located at 1107 S Juniper Drive, Moses Lake, WA  98837. An application may be requested by calling the Washington State Conservation Commission at (360)407-6200. Filing deadline for candidates is January 13, 2015 by 5:00 PM.
     Conservation Districts of Washington State are governed by RCW 89.08.

Meet Our New Staff Members

Heather Killinger has lived most of her life in Moses Lake where she spent her school career and graduated from high school. She went on to become a K-8 educator for the state of Washington. Heather has been an Elementary Educator in Grant County for a number of years. She moved to Alabama for five years to serve as Director of non-profit organizations. As Director, she trained others in leadership and communication skills, and was a guest speaker at many events. She initiated, developed, and obtained funding for programs designed to empower communities. Heather is currently working towards her certification in Program Development, Proposal Writing, and Writing Certified Grants for non-profit, private and government organizations. Heather keeps herself surrounded by loved-ones. She also enjoys music, art, food and loves to travel - especially on the motorcycle! Heather is an experienced photographer never far-removed from her camera. Heather's current position with the GCCD is WOW/Wheat Week Environmental Educator. These FREE Water and Soil Conservation Lessons are available for your classroom K-6th grade, public and private schools, and informational presentations at community events. Call our GCCD office today to schedule your FREE lesson.
 

Meet Our New Staff Members

Joe Warnick, a native of Moses Lake, returns to the area after many years of farming, agricultural development, and conservation work in Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and several regions in the United States. Having recently examined the effects of groundwater depletion first-hand while living in the United Arab Emirates, Joe brings a heightened appreciation to the importance of ground-water conservation. Joe is currently developing our Native Plant and Low Water Use Landscaping Program, assisting with our cost-share projects which address land owners' conservation concerns, and he also prepares soil and water conservation resource material available to the public. Joe enjoys outdoor recreational activities with his wife and two children. He is a vocal supporter at his children's basketball games and often can be found on the tennis court encouraging his little clan to correct their swing. Gardening, puttering around the old Ford tractor, and getting out to enjoy nature's wonders are also valued pastimes. Call our GCCD office today to talk with Joe how he can assist you in your current need.
Ag Guides Needed

Agricultural Guides are needed for the 18th Annual Othello Sandhill Crane Festival tours. Although Othello is well-known for the spring Sandhill Crane Festival, birders also regularly travel to our area during the fall migration season. Our area is part of the great Pacific Flyway, a king or "interstate" for avian migration. 32 different types of mammals and over 200 species of birds have been observed at Columbia National Wildlife Refuge. At the height of the spring and fall migration, biologists have estimated the refuge is home to up to 100,000 birds. The diversity of wildlife in our area is matched only by diversity of the crops grown here. Agriculture is also an important part of avian life in the Basin...Sandhill cranes feast on leftover corn from fall harvest, and other crops grown here provide forage for many other species. Crops like wheat, alfalfa hay, potatoes, apples, spelt, grapes, cherries, melons, peas, onions, peaches, apricots, nectarines, and seed crops like carrot and radish provide "leftovers" for many mammals and avian in our area. Nearly 800 acres of cropland are planted specifically as part of a program designed to maintain healthy water-fowl and crane populations. The delicate balance of nature and agriculture is an important one for our area, and the issue is one local farmers take very seriously. Our Festival enlists the help of dozens of local farmers each year - they not only provide valuable resources and time as Festival backers but volunteer to ride along on our tours to answer your questions. Call our GCCD office to volunteer your time to educate the Festival attendees on the importance of our Ag community.
 
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Copyright © 2014 The Conservation Connection, Grant County Conservation District, All rights reserved.
www.columbiabasincds.org
Phone: (509) 765-9618
1107 S. Juniper Dr., Moses Lake, WA 98837

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