Running a Small Farm

Things For New Farmers To Think About When Planning Field Drainage

by Myrtle Herrera

As a new farmer, you are still getting used to the many responsibilities that you have to take care of on a day-to-day basis. You may have only just started to notice that portions of your land seem to drain slowly, which can affect the health of any crops you're growing in the area. You might be checking out different agricultural drainage systems, but before choosing one, it's important to think about the following things.

What Requirements Are in Place?

You may not know this, but your county or state soil and water conservation service might have rules regarding the systems you are able to put in place on your land. This is particularly the case when your farm is near another farm; the service wants to ensure that whatever you do on your farm will not negatively affect anyone near you. Typically, you'll need to petition them with information about what is happening currently on your land, as well as any ideas you have about what you'd like to do to eliminate the problem. Be sure to include photographs of the land and any soil studies you have in your own files.

Once you are cleared by them to do drainage work on your property, it's a good idea to keep them updated about your progress for their records so that if there is ever a dispute, you can prove that you went through the proper channels.

Are There Other Solutions?

Whether you are thinking of using a simple French drain or any other kind of drainage system, it will take money and time to install the system so that it works properly. You might not have the time or available funds to make that happen right now. However, even if you have the means to install a system today, it is vital that you think carefully about whether you can work around the soil that doesn't drain well. Can you plant crops in a new area, for instance? Can you sacrifice the poorly draining soil and build nothing on that site? It may be worth it to spend the money elsewhere if you can make other arrangements that work for your farm.

Now that you have a lot to think about, be sure to talk to other farmers in the area about what has worked for them in the past and what may work for you. Consult a drainage company like Hazel Brothers Drainage LLC to provide you with more insight about what choices might be best.