Statewide on Farm Water Quantity and Quality Outreach and Demonstration Site Development

Grants and Contracts Details


The availability and quality of water are two of the most critical influences of Kentucky agriculture. Without abundant, high quality water, livestock cannot be watered and crops cannot receive irrigation at critical points during the growing season. Traditionally, agricultural producers have relied on the abundant precipitation and surface water resources, for which Kentucky is famous. Kentucky’s climate is currently experiencing high levels of uncertainty related to both temperatures and precipitation (seasonality and intensity). This can lead to unreliable surface water quantity and quality. It is becoming increasingly necessary that agricultural producers better understand water conservation practices, which affect water quantity and quality, and build water resilience into their operations. Water resilience ensures that agricultural operations are able to more effectively deal with situations of extreme surpluses (extreme storm events or floods) and deficits (minor or major droughts) of water, while maintaining water quality. Protecting and improving the quality and availability of water for public and private use in Kentucky has never been of greater economic and societal importance than now. The leaders of Kentucky’s agricultural community have expressed a desire to research and develop a comprehensive suite of best management practices that address on-farm water quality as well as water quantity. There has been little research and development on the topic of water quantity in Kentucky due to the historical assumption that water is an unlimited, evenly distributed resource. Commodity groups, government agencies, producers, and the public alike are all joining the initiative to invest in on-farm water quantity best management practice research, development, and education through the new On-Farm Water Management Program (OFWMP). Improving the water resiliency of Kentucky agriculture is now a common goal of Kentuckians that will benefit the Commonwealth for many generations to come. This project will be operating in support of the OFWMP and other research and demonstration efforts related to agricultural water quantity and quality in Kentucky. Project participants will attend on-farm visits to assist in the development of water quantity and quality BMP demonstration and development sites. A variety of BMPs will be implemented at multiple regional demonstration sites as a part of this project. Examples include: heavy traffic pads, water harvesting, filter strips to control production facility runoff, shade structures, enhanced riparian areas, stream crossings, dry lots, nutrient management plans, rotational and flash grazing techniques, windbreaks, stormwater management BMPs, alternative water sources, water control structures, drip irrigation from water harvesting systems, soil moisture probe instrumentation for irrigation efficiency improvement, and many more. The demonstration sites that are developed as a part of this project will serve as training facilities for a diverse group of resource professionals and agricultural producers. Kentucky Division of Water (KDOW), Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), and Conservation District staff, as well as Soil and Water Commissioners will be invited on a yearly basis to attend “show-and-tell” sessions to discuss the planned and/or implemented BMPs on various project sites. Extension publications related to BMPs evaluated as a part of the program will be published to provide educational materials for resource professionals and producers to learn about new developments in water quality and quantity BMPs in Kentucky. On-farm demonstrations and field days will be conducted to provide experiential education opportunities to producers and the general public. On-line media and materials will be developed and disseminated as additional outreach material in support of this program. The grantee will conduct the following activities throughout the life of the project: • Develop and promote agricultural best management practices that promote water use efficiency and reduce water pollution from agricultural operations. • Evaluate sites for participation in the OFWMP for research, development, and demonstration of water quantity/quality BMPs. • Organize research materials and prepare presentation content for agricultural producers, agriculture and natural resources professionals, and students on the numerous benefits of water quality/quantity BMPs. • Develop a virtual tour for all demonstration sites where a producer is willing to have such a multimedia project completed. • Conduct cost/benefit analysis of practices that are being evaluated and implemented on farms. • Serve in a support role for the development, installation, evaluation, and demonstration of a septic system for conditions specific to Eden Shale Farm’s Outer Bluegrass physiographic region. • Continue participation in the development and implementation of the Morehead State University Project.
Effective start/end date10/1/189/30/21


  • KY Department of Environmental Protection: $138,000.00


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