On-Farm Resources for the Business of Sustainability: The Ecological Farming Association Water Stewardship Project

This post was written by Liz Birnbaum, Program Coordinator at the Ecological Farming Association.

All businesses face the challenge of managing their resources to provide a meaningful financial return. Organic farmers face the added challenge of attaining financial viability in harmony with the natural systems upon which their success ultimately depends. A key element in all farming is water. And how it gets used, stored, and managed can make a huge difference in a farm’s success.

Water management is not one-size-fits-all, so where can a farmer find the resources to save water and money at the same time? The Ecological Farming Association's Water Stewardship Project (WSP) provides technical and financial information to help farmers use water more effectively and improve their bottom line.

The online resources at www.efawaterstewardship.org feature a curriculum of 6-9 minute video case studies that highlight on-farm practices for anyone seeking to better design their water management plans. These case studies are presented as tours of the farm’s water management innovations, and are led by the farmer. In a concise presentation, the farmer explains the techniques and systems they have employed to use water more efficiently and even provide expanded water supplies on their farms. All practices have thorough explanations and they often use low-tech, affordable techniques.

There is no better instructor than the farmer who has conceived of and organized to implement the solutions for their particular farm's needs. All of the systems can be adopted and adapted to a diversity of farming operations. Check it out! From dry farming to farm ponds, you are sure to find something useful for your farm.

The WSP also features audio files from past EcoFarm Conference workshops on topics ranging from using landscapes for water storage to advanced irrigation monitoring. These audio files are organized by topic and are available for free on the site. The links and resources are another important facet of the curriculum, and they provide information about funding, technical assistance, and other valuable tools.

There will be excellent water stewardship workshops featured at the 2014 EcoFarm Conference, including water harvesting, irrigation systems, and more.

Win a day pass to the conference!

Simply review the WSP website curriculum and resources, and complete a survey:

If you are a farmer or rancher, please complete this survey: http://agwater.wordpress.com/water-stewardship-survey-for-farmers-ranchers/

If you are not a farmer, please complete this survey: http://agwater.wordpress.com/survey-all/

We look forward to hearing from you! Until then, we hope you will dig deeper and visit www.efawaterstewardship.org to learn how to use water more effectively on your farm.