EAST LANSING, Nov. 12, 2015 – Farmers and forest owners are encouraged to submit applications for U.S. Department of Agriculture conservation assistance by Dec. 18, 2015. Conservation financial assistance is available for implementing a wide variety of practices to reduce soil erosion, improve wildlife habitat, protect water quality and manage private forest land.
“USDA conservation programs help farmers and private forest owners protect the resources we all share, including our lakes and rivers, wildlife and the air we breathe,” said USDA State Conservationist Garry Lee.
Conservation financial assistance is available through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program administered by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. Complete applications received by Dec. 18, will be ranked and considered for fiscal year 2016 funding. Financial assistance is available for implementing designated conservation practices such as windbreaks, nutrient management plans, cover crops, forest management plans, crop residue and tillage management, animal waste storage facilities and many others. Applications are ranked and selected for funding on a competitive basis.
During fiscal year 2015, Michigan farmers and forest owners received over $12 million in conservation financial assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program. A portion of USDA conservation funding is targeted to state-level conservation priorities. These include funds for farmers seeking Michigan Agricultural Environmental Assurance Program verification, water quality practices in the Western Lake Erie Basin, high tunnel systems in Wayne County, honey bee habitat, organic producers and producers transitioning to organic production, and energy conservation.
Conservation activities receiving financial assistance must be part of an agricultural or forest operation’s conservation plan. Producers should work with their local NRCS or conservation district staff to develop a conservation plan before applying for the program. Successful applicants enter into a contract with NRCS to implement conservation activities and are reimbursed for a portion of the cost.
NRCS provides higher levels of financial assistance for beginning farmers and historically underserved producers. More information about conservation financial assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program is available at local NRCS offices and online at www.mi.nrcs.usda.gov.
USDA recently launched a new web tool designed to connect new farmers with USDA programs and resources available to help them get started: www.usda.gov/newfarmers.
The site features advice and guidance on everything a new farm business owner will need to know, and even includes a personalized Discovery Tool that builds a customized set of recommendations of USDA programs and services based on your needs. Deputy Agriculture Secretary Krysta Harden says it’s part of the USDA’s goal of increasing farmer and rancher participation in its key programs. She says, “It’s really exciting for us to be able to offer this kind of information, literally at your fingertips for folks interested in agriculture.” Harden says it’s a huge upgrade from the current web tool.
The annual meeting and election of directors of the Eaton Conservation District will be held on Thursday, January 28, 2016
All residents who are desiring to run for the one Conservation District Director position in this election must file their nominating petition signed by at least 5 residents of the Conservation District (Eaton County) at the Conservation District office before close of business on November 30, 2005, being sixty (60) days prior to the annual meeting.
Nominating petitions for director positions are available online below, and at the district office, 551 Courthouse Dr., Charlotte, phone 517-543-1512 ext. 5.
Residents are individuals of legal age who can demonstrate residency in the Conservation District via 1 piece of identification.
Michigan's Hunting Access Program (HAP) was created in 1977 to increase public hunting opportunities in southern Michigan where 97 percent of the land base is privately owned. This program is now one of the oldest dedicated private lands public access programs in the nation.
Providing access to quality hunting lands close to urban properties is a key component to offering additional hunting opportunities, as well as attracting new and retaining current hunters.
HAP provides financial incentives to landowners in southern Michigan who allow hunters access to their lands. Using funds from a new federal grant, the DNR plans to significantly expand HAP.
Attention Hunters:HAP lands are privately owned lands for which the landowners have agreed to allow public access. All hunters are responsible to know and understand the rules of the program, as well as rules of each property and state and federal regulations. Please treat these privately owned lands with respect and observe the following:
Eaton Conservation District is excited to announce that local MAEAP Technician, Jen Silveri, has been recognized by Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development with the MAEAP Relentless Positive Action Award for technical assistance in 2015.
The MAEAP Relentless Positive Action award is given to an individual who routinely exceeds expectations for work within their conservation district and for the MAEAP program. Recipients seek new ways to engage district partners, seek collaborative relationships, and promote the efforts of their district. They also contribute positively to the MAEAP program, not only fulfilling grant requirements, but seeking new strategic partnerships and collaborations, and routinely integrating the MAEAP into their programmatic and district activities. Recipients are individuals who work diligently to improve environmental performance, profitability and the livelihood of farms they work with via the MAEAP program.
Through the Conservation District, Jen works one-on-one with farmers to complete environmental risk assessments centered around water quality and voluntary, regulatory compliance. She also serves as a board member for Michigan Food and Farming Systems (MIFFS) and the Michigan Chapter of the Farmer Veteran Coalition. Both statewide nonprofits work to connect beginning and historically underserved farmers to resource opportunities for developing profitable and environmentally sustainable livelihoods.
“Jen is a great asset to our conservation district and to our farm community.” According to Andrea Stay, Executive Director of the Eaton Conservation District, “She works hard to help solve people’s problems and she doesn’t give up until she finds a solution that works for the farmer, the environment and the multitude of regulatory agencies we deal with.”
The mission of Eaton Conservation District is to promote and encourage cooperation with other individuals, groups, organizations, or agencies in an organized effort to conserve and improve the natural resources in Eaton County. Find us on facebook, www.eatoncounty.org or call us at 517/543-1512 x 5 to be added to our mail or email newsletter!