Cecil

Some big male brook trout out of the outdoor pond today

27 posts in this topic

For those of you that don't know I'm a taxidermist that specializes in fish and I also raise fish for the taxidermy market.

Today I had a good taxidermy customer over to harvest some of my male brook trout out of the trout pond via hook in line with the possiblity he may have one mounted. (Most of the fish harvested are frozen whole and sold and shipped to other taxidermists).

Anyway turns out I will hold on to the rest for another year as the six caught did not top 5 lbs. which is the target sale weight.

As you can see they are well fed and into full spawning colors. I've been feeding them astaxanthin enhanced feed for the last month or so which enhances the reds and oranges.

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The six brook trout caught were in the 3 1/2 to 4 3/4 pound range and 18 1/2 to 19 1/2 inches measured on a board.

Edited by Cecil (see edit history)
ande, RupertofOZ and crsublette like this

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Hi Cecil

Nice fish :bow:

What weight do you excpect to gain in another year of growth ? still the same target weight ?

Whats the tollerance +/-, or is bigger better no matter how big ?

 

We have got some heavy rainfall off & on since sunday, so when I vent down to bail the boat yesterday, I observed the trouts racing up the creeks to spawn :cool:

I'w seen them standing ready to go, in front of the creeks just waiting for the rain fall/flods the last 2 weeks, so I m gona try to show the adventure to my youngest son this year :D  I still love going out in the dark & spot them with a torchlight so easy to see then.

 

cheers

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I'm hoping at least another pound. If these were brown trout they'd be 7 to 9 lbs. next year. But brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) don't grow as fast or get as big as brown trout. I've has browns get to 12 lbs. in the pond.

What kind of trout or char do you have?

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Hi again Cecil

It's the brown trout,wild migratory trout (Salmo trutta), so the ones coming up the crecks now, is the same, but have become seatrouts.

Same DNA, but those that migrate, grows much bigger, and change collor, you call them steeltrout, in the US

I think ?

 

cheers

Edited by ande (see edit history)

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Hi again Cecil

It's the brown trout,wild migratory trout (Salmo trutta), so the ones coming up the crecks now, is the same, but have become seatrouts.

Same DNA, but those that migrate, grows much bigger, and change collor, you call them steeltrout, in the US

I think ?

cheers

If you're referring to steelhead those are migratory rainbows. Either from freshwater lakes or the Pacific ocean where they are native. (Oncorhynchus mykiss).

 

I think we just refer to the browns thta go to the seas as sea run brown trout.

This is one of the good reason for using genus species names to prevent confusion. I.e., we have a char here we refer to as lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) which is what some Europeans use for the name of brown trout that live in lakes as in Seeforellen (Lake trout). And some Europeans refer to brown trout that live in the Sea as Meerforellen which means Sea Trout. Here in the U.S. we refer to a totally different fish caught in warm Gulf of Mexico waters as Sea Trout.

Edited by Cecil (see edit history)

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Hi

this is it http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brown_trout

I ment steelhead, but offcourse those are rainbows, the brown that migrate to sea, take on a more shiny silver collor compared to those that don't, so thats why I thaught it was called steel in the US.

 

cheers

edit : quote from here http://www.sea-trout.org.uk/seatrout_info.html

 

a Sea Trout is not what you call a Sea Trout in the USA. When we say Sea Trout we mean Sea-Run Brown Trout, quite a difference!.

Edited by ande (see edit history)

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Hi

this is it http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brown_trout

I ment steelhead, but offcourse those are rainbows, the brown that migrate to sea, take on a more shiny silver collor compared to those that don't, so thats why I thaught it was called steel in the US.

 

cheers

edit : quote from here http://www.sea-trout.org.uk/seatrout_info.html

 

a Sea Trout is not what you call a Sea Trout in the USA. When we say Sea Trout we mean Sea-Run Brown Trout, quite a difference!.

 

Yes that's exactly what I said. LOL

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Here's a brown trout out of the same pond a few years ago. Very easy to get them to 6 or 7 lbs. Biggest was 12 lbs.

 

Held by my twin. I tried raising brooks and browns together but had issues. The browns grow faster, get larger, and are more aggressive. I've seen them chase the brooks around. Brook trout stress easy as it is. No need to add to that. Some North American natives and European natives don't get a long. LOL Therefore I alternate between brooks and browns. Harder to acquire for my taxidermist customers than rainbows so I specialize in the two as my flow is limited.

 

brt19-31004.jpg

Edited by Cecil (see edit history)
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One I netted out of the pond today that was having equilibrium issues.  This one was just under 5lbs. at 4 lbs. 15 1/2 oz. 19 1/4 inches. Already sold to a taxidermist in Massaschuetts, USA.

 

 

 

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Edited by Cecil (see edit history)
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Hi again

I netted one to  :biggrin: to compare wild (unfed) brown/sea with your pond raised/fed

 

Male 19 inch brown in spawning collor :D

post-968-0-84474400-1414718051_thumb.jpg

 

post-968-0-74942600-1414718170_thumb.jpg

 

post-968-0-98973700-1414718250_thumb.jpg

 

Quite differente in aperance :cool:

 

cheers

 

 

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Nice wild fish!

Here's latest and heaviest brook trout so far in the history of the pond. 20 inches and 6 lbs. 9 1/4 ounces.

IMG_0859_zps1c76ffe8.jpg

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Beautiful fish. Really neat.

How long does it take for them to trophy size like that? Seems like it'd take time and alot of patience.

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That fish is a little less than 3 years old. I got my all male brook trout at 6 to 8 inches from a Michigan supplier in the fall of 2012 at one year of age. Then I fed them for two years.

I should be able to get them up to size in an even shorter amount of time, once I get the coldwater partial recirc going, where I can keep optimum temps year around. These fish had a total of 6 to 7 months where they didn't grow at all under the ice (December to part of March for two winters)

At some point when I hatch my own fish , I should be able to get them up to 10 to 12 inches at one year of age vs. the 6 to 8 inch one year olds I've been buying. So not only will I be able to get optimum growth year around, I will have larger fish from the get go.

Most of the literature says 1.5 inches per month is as fast I trout will grow. Can you imagine getting a trout to 16 inches in 12 months?

Edited by Cecil (see edit history)
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Wow! Thats an amazing fish, and to be able to grow it yourself. What an accomplishment.

Thanks for the kind words but it's not that difficult. As long as the water doesn't get much over 70 F. in the summer and there is plenty of oxygen it's not that difficult. I achieve this by pumping in 45 gpm of well water 24/7 about 7 months of the year. The well water comes out of the ground at 51.6 F. and the pond does not get above 62 to 64 F. during the hottest part of the summer.

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I am curious if there is any issues with dropping aquifers in your area? Here in California we pump so much water out of the ground in some areas that we have subsidence of a foot a year.

 

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/03/140325-california-drought-subsidence-groundwater/

We have abundant groundwater and during nondrought years we seem to be O.K. However there are more and more farmers irrigating, and one summer we had a drought, a commercial farm that was pumping 800 gpm dropped the local aquifer 30 feet according to my well driller.

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I am curious if there is any issues with dropping aquifers in your area? Here in California we pump so much water out of the ground in some areas that we have subsidence of a foot a year.

 

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/03/140325-california-drought-subsidence-groundwater/

Interesting article. Yeah, agriculture in my semi-arid high plains desert area has been pulling ground water since the early 1950s, but I have never seen significant subsidence problems.

Sounds like the California subsidence issue is due to its unique underground geography or the vegetable farmers are pumping extraordinary levels for their crop. Sounds like the farmers need to get together to form a better water conservation agency like we did here.

Farmers here, including myself here as well, are only allowed to pump around 600gpm for about 70 days on a 120 acre field, and going beyond incurs quite significant monetary and water allowance penalties. The only way to get around this is if grassland near a field is purchased or a significant amount of grass was planted and not irrigating the grass so that these savings can add to the irrigation of the 120acre field. The main problem now is that the conservation board does not restrict well drilling so they currently do not care if takes 2 or 5 wells to achieve that irrigation allowance. This is where I am trying to be involved to invoke well drilling permits to only 2 per 250acres of irrigatable farm land. So, for example, if 2 wells already present on that half section of land, then one well must be abandoned until another can be drilled on that half section. Farmers need to start taking advantage of these agriculture technologies so to do more yields with less inputs, which may mean reducing standard of living a bit since these more efficient plant genetics, equipment, and irrigation technologies are very expensive.

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We have abundant groundwater and during nondrought years we seem to be O.K. However there are more and more farmers irrigating, and one summer we had a drought, a commercial farm that was pumping 800 gpm dropped the local aquifer 30 feet according to my well driller.

 

Yeah, this is very common. Water well's cone of influence is a @$%! and, in some areas, there are regulations to determine well spacing for permits due to this influence cone .... However, not all areas have these regulations or these placement regulations are not strict enough. I actually have to adjust my irrigation valves whenever my neighbors turn on or off their wells so that my well does not pump air. Air is a @%$! as well; tiny air bubbles acts like sand paper on well's bowls or submersible's propellers.

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Indiana is not up to speed on well usage. The government here probably won't do anything proactive and like all government will wait until there is a problem.

 

Interestingly I am under 70 gpm so I am considered a minor water user and even if I run my neighbor's wells dry I am not liable etc. However if I pumped 70 or more gpm I have to provide them water if their wells run dry.

 

I don't have a problem with farmers irrigating. However some in the area are using it as a crutch IMHO. It's getting dry but there is a significant chance of rain that day but they still crank it up. I've seen some pumping during a thunderstorm downpours and that's bad public relations.

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I don't have a problem with farmers irrigating. However some in the area are using it as a crutch IMHO. It's getting dry but there is a significant chance of rain that day but they still crank it up. I've seen some pumping during a thunderstorm downpours and that's bad public relations.

 

Yeah, if there is significant water runoff occuring, then I agree about turning off irrigation during a thunderstorm downpour. Otherwise, if there is no significant runnoff and lets say the farmer is only putting down 3.2 gallons per acre (for example which is 400gpm on a 125 acre field), then the thunderstorm downpour better be more than 3 inches before they turn off the irrigation lest risk losing significant progress on the moisture soil profile, which this progress is never regained if it is a hot summer or crop is in peak water usage mode. Not for sure about Indiana and their soil, but in this area we aim for maintaining a 6 foot soil moisture profile while a crop is on it, which really depends on the soil makeup.

 

 

Indiana is not up to speed on well usage. The government here probably won't do anything proactive and like all government will wait until there is a problem.

 

Interestingly I am under 70 gpm so I am considered a minor water user and even if I run my neighbor's wells dry I am not liable etc. However if I pumped 70 or more gpm I have to provide them water if their wells run dry.

 

Yep, I completely understand, and that is how government acts either the government not acting to give proper agricultural funding such as during the many years of the Dust Bowl (which government funding a private organization of soil biologists is what got the farmers through it and sparked the concept of Precision Farming) or the government over reacts dependent on unreliable 50 year weather models or overeacts due to public opinion.

Edited by crsublette (see edit history)

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Good points. Yes over reaction and knee jerk reactions are another thing the gov does well. I have no confidence in APHIS anymore due to the VHS fiasco.

I just think monitoring based on valid scientific data isn't bad. Unfortunately the public isn't usually interested in the facts when the media is spinning negative and sensational headlines. And like you said the general public can put pressure on our politicians.

One of my neighbors was sure I was going to pump the aquifer dry and called the water commission. My well driller says what I pump part of the year it's a drop in the bucket. No hard feelings against the neighbor though. I can see his concern.

My water levels start at 30 feet and my well goes down to 88 with water all the way to the bottom. Not sure how much farther it goes but some places here have double aquifers.

Edited by Cecil (see edit history)
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Good points. Yes over reaction and knee jerk reactions are another thing the gov does well. I have no confidence in APHIS anymore due to the VHS fiasco.

I just think monitoring based on valid scientific data isn't bad. Unfortunately the public isn't usually interested in the facts when the media is spinning negative and sensational headlines. And like you said the general public can put pressure on our politicians.

My water levels start at 30 feet and my well goes down to 88 with water all the way to the bottom. Not sure how much farther it goes but some places here have double aquifers.

 

That's some shallow water. I thought it would be something like that in your area... Yeah, I know an eastern Nebraskan farmer, whom got tired of "paradise" here ;) and moved to Nebraska, that has shallow water like you and, due to the shallowness, he is restricted to use only particular chemicals and fertilizers, which I agree with.

 

 

 

And... Hope folk don't... Going to bloviate a bit here since I think some folk might be interested in it and I enjoy writing (or typing I mean). If not interested, just ignore the rest of this post. :)

 

 

We go down to about 520 feet to hit redbed (that is the bottom) of the first aquifer, the Ogallala, depending on location, and the top of the aquifer water table is around 440, depending on location, and the Ogallala has a slight recharge. The second aquifer here is hit at around 800 feet and I forget the name of it, but it has shown to have near zero recharge; so, sure, when you hit the second aquifer, then you'll have excellent water for about 3 months until the volume dwindles down so low that the energy cost to pull the water becomes too expensive for such small amount of water, except farmers still stubbornly pump from this second aquifer.

 

Yeah, we also have many Ogallala water monitor wells to tell us the depletion and recharge rate. After compiling historical water consumption rates, past recorded weather conditions, and regeneration rates, they are able to create some short term computer models that are very accurate, that is much more accurate when compared to trying to predict the impact and reaction of weather on us 50 years from now. How many hurricanes were we "supposed" to have this year? ;)  Although, the inaccuracies may be due to the inherit inaccuracies of longe range future predictions. My dad was told 40 years ago that there was only a 30 year supply of water in the Ogallala and we're still doing fine enough.

 

Like I always tell folk.... Even if the 3 day weather forecast was 100% accurate, then farmers would be the one's whom would be rich in this world. ;) Heck, if there was such of a thing as an actually "accurate" 20 years weather computer model, then we would be eating much higher quality food for today's cheap prices.

 

 

I wished, sooner rather than later, farmers here would have changed their ways and wished the government would have supported, with realistic authority of enforcement, the very small locally created water conservation group of farmers, that is before our water levels started to drop. I could be lazy, care only about my self, and sell-out like the others, but there is much that can be done still to improve the situation. We are not far from producing high nutrient density (sugars, protein, starches) 200 bushels per acre corn on only 3 gallons per acre (with less than 10 inches annual precipitation and hot triple digit, windy summers), and, once farmers will achieve this on a conventional soil farm, this will be quite awesome. These outdoor conventional organic certified farms do not even come close to this.

 

There also needs to be much better policing of agricultural water usage. Too many farmers here are still doing some significant cheating, such as occasionaly replacing the water monitors from their wells with inactive monitors then switching them back before they get read or by welding the monitors shut so that the monitor can not be read until the annual reports must be written.

 

 

 

Here's some quite interesting stuff for anyone interested to understand how risky it is to farm here.

 

I occasionally pull out my Dust Bowl documentaries so to fill me with inspiration so to do the right thing when farming here about 8 miles east of Dalhart, Texas. After much deliberation by historians, Boise City, Oklahoma, was considered the center of the Dust Bowl, that experienced most of the damage, and Dalhart, Texas, is only 46 miles south from Boise City and experienced the same "Black Dusters". There is actually a crew of folk, here from Dalhart, that became known something like the "Dust Bowl Cheerleaders" (can't remember exact name) to try to keep hope alive for the farmers over the many years.

 

Here's a fun movie factoid. The big recent movie hit, "Interstellar" by Christopher Nolan, actually took inspiration from The Dust Bowl. Here's an article that talks about it: How Ken Burns' surprise role in 'Interstellar' explains the movie. The old black & white video clips and choppy audio bits of the "old farmers" in the Interstellar movie is actual Dust Bowl video footage.

 

 

For a quick history lesson as to the actions leading up to the Dust Bowl (and don't trust everything Wikipedia has to say ;) ), there was a boom of agriculture in the early 1930s due to many reasons, but the main driving reason was World War 1 (WW1) due to how wheat was blocked from being imported from Russia's "bread basket", that is area around and of Ukraine. The wheat bio-technologies, nutrient density, and yields from that area is still quite amazing. Anyways... One of the agricultural war mottos was, "Wheat Will Win the War!!".  Initially, government started a social program so to create an expansion of towns, homesteads, and farms in the Great Plains. This program created all sorts of scheisters; so, at this time, not many were thrilled about it. However, once WW1 progressed, to increase wheat production, the government placed a $2 per dry bushel market price tag on wheat, which is huge for folk in the 1930s. Also, a new technology was developed, with the aid of government, so to more quickly and more cheaply produce wheat; this was the "one-way" disc tillage plow, tandem disc tillage plow, and disc wheat drill (which is a wheat planter). This equipment made wheat farming incredibly easy and cheap and fast. So, with the higher market price (government driven), cheap land (government driven), and tillage technology driven to meet this demand, all sorts of folk and even city folk swamped the Great Plains to tear up the prairie grassland and put millions of acres of land into wheat production. The video footage is quite amazing to see. Welp, eventually WW1 had to end, but government did not want to do anything about what they created. So, farmers were left to their own devices, lack of education, and an insatiable drive for that American Dream for their family to secure future prosperity for their children. Welp, events turned sour and there were still unscrupulous realtors trying to attract more folk. Their motto was, "plow to bring the rain"; the notion was that grass was somehow preventing the rain. Once the rains decreased, summers got hot and windy, normal weather patterns, then all this plowed up land was not looking good.

 

The only reason why the farmers stayed to work it out was due to their faith, hope for rain, and desire to secure an agriculture future for their children.

 

Since there was nothing to hold the ground and normal reoccuring weather patterns, rains decreasing, summers getting hot and windy, The Dust Bowl was enevitable. The way I like to put it.... Government, in lieu with stubborn ignorant farmers driven by the American Dream, was the fuel to the Dust Bowl. The normal, reoccuring weather patterns of the semi-arid high plains desert region was the spark that lit the fuel on fire to drive the Dust Bowl.

 

As a quick aside, this disc tillage technology used in the 1930s is about the worst to use due to how the plow very significantly chops and buries plant residue. Now, today, disc "tillage" is only used, as a very minor aspect, in lieu with other much better technologies such as no-till farming where these discs do not actually "till" at all since they are used to only chop, not bury, plant residue. Also, as another quick aside, in today's context, these crop varieties in the 1930s would be considered to be "heirloom".

 

The Dust Bowl finally subside due to efforts by "Dr." Finnell and company.

 

"Dr." Finnell and his group of scientists were the ones that, once given proper government funding and authority, to teach farmers, such as my grandfather (as talked about in my introductory post here), on how to farm in the industrial era. "Dr." in quotes since I view him as someone that was in charge of healing the Great Plains. After "Dr." Finnell and his group had the proof to show significant promise, then, after 6 years, a small group called Soil Conservation Society was created so to be recognized by the government, which this small group of soil biologists was formed by Mr. Benett. However, "Dr." Finnell and is small group of scientists have never really been given proper credit for their role in jumpstarting all of this. Soil Conservation Society eventually became recognized as the more commonly known NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service).  Finally, after over a decade of farmers suffering, literally many dieing due to dust pneumonia, trying to survive the Dust Bowl, government got into the game and actually made a positive difference in funding private individuals, that is "Dr." Finnell and his cohorts, to help the farmers end the Dust Bowl.

 

 

Fast forward to now... Well, to the 1950s and up to now...

 

 

Farmers have been pumping ground water since the early 1950s and there was a small group of farmers (unpopular amongst other farmers) demanding for water conservation support from the federal government. Even though water conservation was recognized by the state government in the mid-1950s, the water conservation concern was not taken serious. The federal government did not take this serious until the late 1980s when the Soil Conservation Society was renamed to the Soil and Water Conservation Society. The Texas state government's effort was eventually managed by what is known today as the North Plains Water District (NPWD), except they were not given any significant political clout nor were they courageous enough to actually enforce water allowances.  However, as mentioned, this changed once farmers could no longer pump 800~1200gpm due to a lack of water conservation resulting in a depleting aquifer, and, finally, around 2009, the NPWD finally started to enforce water conservation that had some teeth with it in form of monetary penalties enforced by the federal and state government. 

 

Silly "bumper sticker" mottos, wishful thinking, lack of meaningful agricultural education encouraged for farmers, World War 1, and lack of proper government support is the reason why the Dust Bowl happened and lasted so long.

 

 

One of the silly actions conducted by government back then, as a "solution" to the Dust Bowl before supporting "Dr." Finnell, the government was buying farm leases from the farmer to encourage the market to stabilize, but, then, the government did nothing to the land thus allowed the land to blow even more.

 

Funny thing is... Agricultural Martial Law actually occurred amongst farmers where farmers would, by force, take ownership of someone else's land so to get the dirt to stop blowing. There were many city folk that were "absentee" farmers, who were called "Suitcase Farmers", that abused the land and did not care about their land blowing on someone else's land. Unfortunately, even today, I am still battling these "suitcase farmers".

 

Finally, even though under pressure by other politicians to do nothing, President Roosevelt went against the grain and gave proper funding to "Dr." Finell and followed through wih the promise to help the farmer by improving agriculture through monetary rebates to encourage good conservationalist practices. Also, as part of the work programs, large native grass priaries were planted in the acres of farmland the government "leased" from farmers, which this program is still continuing under the more commonly known program as CRP (Conservation Reserve Program).

 

 

Don't see much of this type of support from government anymore.  Now, it is all about the "environment" rather than granting rebates to encourage agricultural conservationalism. Appears the conservation, the production, and quality of our food has been put on the back burner due to sensationalized, unreliable 50 year weather computer models (i.e., "Global Warming") taking precedence. Quite astounding how Confirmation Bias has diluted the Scientific Method by this movement.

 

 

Unfortunately, now, the NRCS  is one of the major agencies within agriculture, along with the CRP program, that experiences many of the budget cuts, reducing the aid to help farmers improve thus resulting in producing cheaper, lower quality food. Still, even after the Dust Bowl, Agriculture is not even considered as a legitimate concern by government to receive significant considerations unless it is bundled with the Food Stamp and other relatable "cheap, low quality food" programs.

 

 

To this day, eventhough significantly restrained, the NRCS is still trying to help farmers out quite a bit by giving significant rebates to encourage farmers to grow tree groves for wind blocks and high water efficiency irrigation of crops and high tunnel green house production of vegetables/fruit and giving rebates to farmers that encourage native grasslands, but all of this will soon come be significantly reduced due to the changes introduced by the new "Farm Plan" (in quotes since it is really not about supporting Agriculture) that will be going into effect January 1, 2015. However, one good thing about the "Farm Plan" is that it is finally providing some catastrophe insurance relief for cattle ranchers.

 

 

For folk here in the US of A... To be honest, out of all of the social governmental programs from the "Great Depression" and "Dirty Thirties", the NRCS agency and the CRP program are the ones that still remain to be quite important so to "try to" (when allowed) encourage better conservation practices and higher quality food.

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