Knox County farmer, IFB director: Clean Water Rule will help end uncertainty

For David Serven, sharing his conservation story, supporting the proposed Clean Water Rule is crucial to passing his farm to the next generation.

"The ground we farm is our livelihood," said David Serven, district 8 director, Illinois Farm Bureau Board of Directors. "We must take care of it now and maintain it for are future generations. If we don’t speak up, someone else will do it for us. And unfortunately, a lot of the time those people don’t have agriculture’s interest at heart.” (Photo courtesy of David Serven)

By Deana Stroisch

David Serven’s family has farmed the same land in Knox County for nearly a century.

And through the years, the Servens have taken intentional steps to protect the soil and water so the farm can remain in the family for generations to come.

The newly proposed definition of “waters of the United States” will help, he said.

“This proposed rule would have the ability to end years of uncertainty over where the jurisdiction of Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers begins and ends,” he wrote.

Serven, who serves as District 8 director for Illinois Farm Bureau, grows corn and soybeans with his father, Duane. They currently plant about one-fourth of their corn – and all of their soybeans – using no-till. They also use variable rate technology for fertilizer and soil test every four years.

The family also splits its application of nitrogen.

“Specifically, we put about two-thirds of our nitrogen needs on in the fall with anhydrous ammonia and a nitrogen stabilizer and put the other third on at planting with liquid 28 percent,” he wrote. “We feel this is a more efficient use than putting it on all the same time. We also use the MRTN (Maximum Return To Nitrogen) rate calculator for setting our nitrogen rates. By utilizing the calculator, we apply less nitrogen compared to the old university standard of 1.2 pounds of nitrogen per bushel of corn. The yields have actually been trending up with less nitrogen being used.”

Over the years, they have used their family-owned bulldozer and backhoe to build dry dams and small terraces. Currently, more than 100 acres of land are enrolled in USDA’s Conservation Reserve Program.

Serven shared his story in support of the Clean Water Rule. As an IFB director and past county Farm Bureau president, he said, “it is my duty to do this.”

Video: Illinois Farm Bureau District Directors Jeff Kirwan and David Serven discuss the importance of submitting comments in support of the proposed Clean Water Rule. 

“We need to tell our story that we are doing the right things on our farms, Serven said. “We are concerned about the environment and the future of our farms. The ground we farm is our livelihood. We must take care of it now and maintain it for our future generations. If we don’t speak up, someone else will do it for us. And unfortunately, a lot of the time those people don’t have agriculture’s interest at heart.”

To submit comments, text “WATERS” to 52886 or email Lauren Lurkins at LLurkins@ilfb.org for help filing substantive comments. The comment deadline is April 15.

Content from this story was provided by FarmWeekNow.com.

 

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