Implementing cost share through conservation planning

Friday, January 1, 2010

A Conservation Plan is a written record of your management decisions, the conservation practices and systems you plan to use to maintain your farming operation.

Carrying out your Conservation Plan will achieve the goals of protecting the environment on and off your farm.

Soil, water, air, plant and animal resources on your property are inventoried and evaluated, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will review several alternatives for you to consider.

These alternatives are included on your Conservation Plan. The Conservation Plan includes objectives, goals of the producer, aerial photos of the site, and soils information pertaining to your goals and projects.

Also included in the Conservation Plan is a list of treatment decisions, resource inventory information, a schedule of when the conservation practices will be installed, and how to maintain these practices.

This plan then becomes a roadmap to achieving better management of your natural resources.

Among the many benefits to developing a Conservation Plan that include things like taking time to look at potential problems often overlooked in the day to day operation of the farm.

Further, the Conservation Plan can help protect and enhance the farm's soil productivity.

One of the most important aspects of developing a Conservation Plan is that it gives you the opportunity to track successes, improvements, and to make adjustments as the Plan is implemented.

NRCS offers assistance to help implement your Conservation Plan through programs like the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

All EQIP activities must be carried out according to a conservation plan.

All developed Conservation Plans are subject to the NRCS's technical standards adapted for local conditions and are approved by the Putnam County Soil and Water Conservation District.

Cost sharing through EQIP may pay for certain conservation practices, such as development of/or implementation of grazing management plans, improvement of water quality on forest lands, animal waste and nutrient management, manure management facilities, capping abandoned wells, and other practices important to improving and maintaining the health of natural resources in an area.

Incentive payments may be made to encourage a producer to perform land management practices such as nutrient management, manure management, integrated pest management, and wildlife habitat management.

These payments may be provided for up to three years to encourage producers to carry out management practices they may not otherwise use without the program incentive.

Producers are not obligated, but are encouraged, to develop comprehensive or total resource management plans.

The Putnam SWCD encourages anyone who would like more information on developing a Conservation Plan or would like to complete an application for EQIP to call the office for an appointment.

Eligibility in EQIP is limited to persons who are engaged in livestock or agricultural production.

Eligible land includes cropland, rangeland, pasture, forestland, and other farm lands where the program is delivered.

For more information contact the Putnam County SWCD at 653-5716, Ext. 3.

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