Rural Solutions

FRIENDS OF THE BIG SIOUX RIVER BELIEVES IN RURAL RESPONSIBILITY

Farmers are charged with two tasks: 1) to produce and 2) to protect. It is important to the future of South Dakota to find a balance between these two demands. As with any worthwhile challenge, there are difficulties, but a healthy river benefits our farmers and benefits our state. Friends of the Big Sioux wants to be a friend of farmers, helping find ways to balance production with protection. We support the maximization of yield through environmentally sustainable practices. The resources on this page aim to get farmers what they need to help their river.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

LIVESTOCK MANAGEMENT

Keep livestock and livestock waste out of rivers and streams. Wading cows can increase e. coli levels.

COVER CROPS

Use cover crops. Cover crops build healthier soil, reduce fertilizer applications, and retain soil moisture. Click the image for more information!

RIPARIAN BUFFERS

Planting riparian buffers along waterways can slow erosion and catch contaminated runoff. Click the image to learn more!

CONSERVATIVE CHEMICAL APPLICATION

Excess fertilizer, pesticides, and herbicides runoff into lakes, rivers, and streams and contribute to high nutrient levels. When applying chemicals, maintain a safe distance from surface water and abide by chemical applicator rules. Click on the image to learn more!

REDUCED TILE DRAINAGE

Tile drainage increases nitrate levels in rivers and streams. By moving water off the land more quickly, chemical pollutants don't have the chance to filter out and instead are deposited into local water bodies. Plant grasses in easily wet areas, and avoid farming areas that are prone to flooding. 

CONSERVATION PROGRAMS

Success stories, such as those of the Mortenson Ranch and the Leopold Conservation Award Winners, prove that conservation can pay! Check out SARE, USDA Farm Service Agency, SD Grassland Coalition, and the Big Sioux River Watershed Project to learn about your conservation options!

WETLAND PRESERVATION

Wetlands act as natural filters for runoff and serve as critical habitat for wildlife. 

GRAZING PRACTICES

Avoid overgrazing pastures to ensure healthy ground cover. If you enroll your land in SRAM or other conservation programs, make sure you follow the guidelines for healthy grazing practices. Click the image to learn more!

LEARN MORE

Keep up with new discoveries! Keep up with the SD NCRS and its videos. SDSU's iGrow is also a great source or new information. 

FRIENDS OF THE BIG SIOUX RIVER RURAL POSITION STATEMENTS

- We want to work with the South Dakota agricultural community to find solutions that protect our environment and natural resources.

- We encourage South Dakota to put reasonable regulations in place on CAFOs to help avoid some of the disputes and problems that are occurring in Minnesota and Iowa. The standards should be higher for bigger operations.

- We encourage the state to better enforce existing rules and regulations. They should conduct on-site inspections, provide advice for operators and fine violators.

- We are concerned about the development of CAFOs in areas with shallow aquifers, such as occurs in most of the Big Sioux River watershed.

- We support the position that agriculture, developers and other industries should be responsible for the costs of their operations and not externalize those costs at the expense of the public and public resources.

- We support riparian strips to minimize and reduce the erosion of valuable topsoil and reduce sediment from entering waterways throughout the Big Sioux River watershed.

- We support alternative off stream watering sources for livestock such as wells and stock ponds to eliminate the grazing of cattle in streams, the erosion of stream banks and livestock waste in the water.

- We support the preservation of natural wetlands and discourage the use of drain tile to get rainwater off farmland quickly.