New joint venture seeks to accelerate cotton industry sustainability and quail population recovery
Thursday, May 2, 2019
With generous funding support from the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) Conservation Partners Program and Cotton Incorporated, Quail Forever and agricultural industry allies are excited to unveil a new precision agriculture planning partnership available now to producers in the southern United States with emphasis in Georgia. This new program – Precision Partnership for Working Lands – integrates agricultural economics, cutting edge geospatial technology, and wildlife conservation to deliver profitable producer outcomes with tangible environmental benefits.
The Precision Partnership for Working Lands 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. Not coincidentally, the grant focuses on Georgia’s target area for USDA’s Working Lands for Wildlife Pine Savannah Project for Bobwhites – a hotbed for quail restoration and cotton production in the Southeast. Through the hiring of a Precision Agriculture & Conservation Specialist, the partnership strives to help producers identify new strategies to be profitable in their operations by focusing on return-on-investment (ROI), acre-by-acre, to identify field zones where implementing USDA conservation programs and alternative practices can increase whole field profitability.
Quail Forever has hired Chaz Holt to serve as the new Precision Agriculture & Conservation Specialist, to assist landowners and their trusted allies such as Certified Crop Advisers, with farming ROI analyses. Living on a family farm near Taylorsville, Georgia, Holt comes to the partnership with a bachelor’s degree in agriculture science from the University of Wyoming, as well as a Master of Science degree in Land Resources and Environmental Science from Montana State University. 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 Chaz Holt, precision agriculture & conservation specialist for Quail Forever. “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.”
Precision Partnership for Working Lands Goals
- 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 ROI at the sub-field scale.
“This unique partnership illustrates how industry and conservation groups can work hand-to-hand to achieve common goals. The program, with its focus on precision agriculture, environmental conservation, and grower profitability echoes the sustainability goals the U.S. cotton industry has set for itself,” noted Jesse Daystar, Ph.D., chief sustainability officer for Cotton Incorporated. “Additionally, this project fosters bird and pollinator biodiversity in and around planted acres.”
Funding for the Precision Partnership for Working Lands was made possible by the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation 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@nullQuailForever.Org.
About National Fish & Wildlife Foundation Conservation Partners Program
The Conservation Partners Program, a partnership between the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, provides vital grant funding to support organizations that provide staff and technical assistance to private landowners in order to maximize the benefits of Farm Bill programs on working lands.
About Cotton Incorporated
Cotton Incorporated, funded by U.S. cotton producers and importers of cotton and cotton textile products, conducts worldwide research and promotion activities to increase the demand for and profitability of cotton.