Cotton Inc., NFWF Funding Cotton Sustainability & Quail Population Recovery Project
With funding support from Cotton Incorporated and the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) Conservation Partners Program, Quail Forever and agricultural industry allies are beginning a new precision agriculture planning partnership for cotton producers in the southern United States, with emphasis in Georgia.
The Precision Partnership for Working Lands program integrates agricultural economics, cutting edge geospatial technology, and wildlife conservation to deliver profitable producer outcomes with tangible environmental benefits.
The program seeks to integrate precision agriculture technology to improve farmer profitability and sustainability on working lands – specifically targeting landscapes supporting bobwhite quail habitat, pollinator habitat and crop production. The grant primarily focuses on USDA’s Working Lands for Wildlife Pine Savannah Project for Bobwhites in Georgia – a key location for quail restoration and cotton production in the Southeast.
Program goals include:
- Hire a Quail Forever Precision Agriculture & Conservation Specialist to work directly with a minimum of 50 producers and their trusted advisers to analyze precision ag data in the Pine Savanna Project Area for Bobwhites geography to improve 1,200 acres.
- Identify positive economic return opportunities through Farm Bill and other USDA conservation programs with landowners and their advisers.
- Conduct outreach and promotion efforts to increase awareness of the benefits of precision ag integration and return on investment (ROI) at the sub-field scale.
“This unique partnership illustrates how industry and conservation groups can work hand-to-hand to achieve common goals,” noted Dr. Jesse Daystar, chief sustainability officer for Cotton Incorporated. “With its focus on precision agriculture, environmental conservation and grower profitability, this program echoes the sustainability goals the U.S. cotton industry has set for itself.
“Additionally, this project fosters bird and pollinator biodiversity in and around planted cotton acres.”
Quail Forever has hired Chaz Holt as Precision Agriculture & Conservation Specialist for the area to help producers, landowners and allies identify new strategies for profitability by focusing on acre-by-acre ROI to identify field zones where implementing USDA conservation programs and alternative practices can increase whole field profitability. With a lifetime of service and experience in agriculture, Holt looks forward to helping producers find profit in healthy regenerative soils and wildlife habitat.
“Conservation and profitability are not competitive ideas on the farm, and we’ve proven this by working with farmers to find conservation-based solutions for marginal acres through precision technology,” said Holt. “I’m thrilled to join our new partners in the agriculture industry to help improve farming operations for cotton producers, while meeting the goals of Georgia’s Bobwhite Quail Initiative.”
Funding for the Precision Partnership for Working Lands was made possible by NFWF and Cotton Incorporated, with in-kind contributions from the American Society of Agronomy. For more information about precision agriculture planning or to sign up to become one of the first 50 cooperators, contact Chaz Holt at (406) 425-3039 or CHolt@QuailForever.Org.
Based on information provided by The Cotton Board