Conservation Programs Available
Here is a general overview of some of the more common conservation programs offered by the state and/or federal government. Please call, stop by, or email and speak with Andy Rice, our Farm Bill Technician. Andy and the rest of the staff at Stevens SWCD can help you decide between the different conservation practices, show you different project options, and then complete the planting or construction for you.
We work closely with the Farm Service Agency (FSA) and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to determine the best option for your land and to obtain the maximum cost share available.
We look forward to helping your conservation efforts. All landowners, including those who are unable to receive cost share, will appreciate the Stevens SWCD's high survival rates, increased growth rates, and dedicated commitment to customer service. Contact us today!
Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)
CRP is the federal government's single largest environmental improvement program. It takes crop land out of production and plants vegetative cover (trees &/or native grasses) in order to prevent topsoil erosion, improve water quality, and provide wildlife habitat.
CRP is administered through the Farm Service Agency. CRP contracts, which are entered into during occasional sign-up periods, last between 10-15 years. Farmers receive annual rental payments, incentive payments in certain cases, and cost- share assistance to establish the protective vegetation. SWCD staff work closely with FSA and are here to help with everything from planning to planting your CRP projects. We can take a look at your land and recommend CRP or another conservation program that will help you get the most financial benefit for taking your marginal crop land out of production.
Continuous CRP (CCRP)
CCRP is a program designed to help farmers put in conservation buffers (filter strips, riparian buffers, shelter belts, field windbreaks, grass waterways, and more) that help them stay profitable while protecting the land. The program allows you to enroll eligible land for 10 or 15 year contracts. You can enroll at any time, unlike a regular CRP contract, and you do not have to submit a competitive offer. You will receive an annual payment, plus implementation costs for each practice you put in.
Most practices include planting native grasses and forbs (flowers). Natives make much better wildlife habitat and hold up better in tough conditions. There are several different options for practices you can implement, based on the type of land. With this program, it is easy to install borders or strips while leaving the remaining land for crop production. CCRP also allows landowners to utilize the highest quality products in their projects with minimal out of pocket expenses. To be eligible for CCRP, the project must be located on land with a recent cropping history and be designed to meet NRCS criteria.
You can find out more about CRP and CCRP by visiting http://www.fsa.usda.gov/conservation.
Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)
EQIP is a program for helping farmers put soil and water conservation practices on working farmland. EQIP provides technical assistance and cost-share payments to producers. Producers work with conservation professionals such as the NRCS and develop a plan of operations for their land. Selection is based on which applications feature projects that will offer the greatest environmental benefit. Funded projects receive cost-share funds to implement their plan. Cost share varies, but typically in Stevens County, many of the funded projects received about 50%. For new or limited resource farmers, even more financial assistance is available.
Some of the projects that can be funded through EQIP include terraces, conservation tillage, nutrient management plans, animal waste management structures, grazing management, wetland restorations, grassed waterways, streambank protection, pest management, and buffer/filter strips.
You can find out more about EQIP at the Minnesota NRCS web site, http://www.mn.nrcs.usda.gov.
State Cost Share
The State of Minnesota, through the Board of Water and Soil Resources, offers cost share to either compliment federal cost share or to help landowners who don't have crop history or are otherwise ineligible for federal cost share. Farmstead or field windbreaks, and water and sediment control basins are some of the more common projects that are funded with state cost share in Stevens County. State cost sharing does not exceed 75% of eligible project costs. Ask about whether your project might be eligible for state cost share instead of or in addition to the federal cost share you might be getting.
|The mission of the Stevens Soil & Water Conservation District is to work with county landowners in putting conservation practices on the land and to help all citizens be good stewards of our natural resources.|
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