Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

June 24, 2013

Local resource specialist helps farmers

Local resource specialist helps farmers make conservation decisions

Sarah Lake is like superwoman for farmers. When they have troubles with erosion, conservation or soil health, all they have to do is phone in a request and she’ll drop by to give advice on preventing erosion and making good conservation decisions.

“There are many things I do,” Lake said. “The first and the biggest is I provide erosion control for farmers.”

Lake is a resource specialist for the Indiana State Department of Agriculture’s Division of Soil Conservation in Kokomo, and she primarily works with farmers in Howard, Tipton, Cass and Carroll counties.

“If a farmer has erosion in the field or along the bank, we come out and survey the area and design an erosion control practice,” Lake said.

She said erosion makes it impossible for farmers to grow crops.

“It affects farms because the top soil, which is the most productive soil on a farm, has the best organic matter and nutrition,” Lake said. “If that’s being washed away by the rain, then the farmer isn’t going to have good enough soil to build crops on.”

Lake said she thinks erosion is definitely becoming a bigger problem in the region.

“It’s definitely an issue, and it seems like the storms are getting bigger and more frequent,” Lake said. “There are areas that haven’t had erosion problems before that are having them now.”

A recent of example of a farm she has worked with had three different erosion problems, so she designed a block chute.

A block chute is a grade stabilization structure to prevent erosion. It is built with cinder blocks and designed to hold the soil in place as the water runs over the edge of a bank, keeping soil runoff to a minimum.

Lake also can help with gullies, or water worn ravines, on a farm.

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