USDA to Invest $4 Million for Midwest Honey Bee ConservationThe U.S. Department of Agriculture plans to provide more than $4 million in technical and financial assistance to help farmers in the Midwest, including Michigan, improve the health of honey bees.
Michigan is one of five Midwestern states that is part of the USDA honey bee effort, along with Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Funding will be provided to producers to plan and install conservation practices that will provide honey bees with nutritious pollen and nectar while providing benefits to the environment. The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service is accepting applications for this effort until Nov. 21, 2014.
“Honey bees and other pollinators are extremely important to Michigan’s fruit and vegetable growers,” said Garry Lee, USDA state conservationist for Michigan. “There was a strong response from farmers for the first honey bee conservation effort earlier this year.”
In February, 2014, the USDA announced the first funding for honey bee conservation. In Michigan, 48 farmers entered into contracts to improve honey bee habitat on 1,080 acres of land and they will receive $193,100 in conservation financial assistance. The funding will be used by farmers to establish or improve forage for honey bees.
Studies have shown that beekeepers are losing about 30 percent of their honey bee colonies each year, up from historical norms of 10-15 percent overwintering losses experienced prior to 2006. Significant progress has been made in understanding of the factors that are associated with Colony Collapse Disorder and the overall health of honey bees. This effort is one of many that USDA has underway to address the issue, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
More information, is available on the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service website at www.mi.nrcs.usda.gov.
Don’t farm naked, plant cover crops for soil health! Eaton Conservation District, Eaton County Farm Bureau and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation service will be sponsoring a fall field day on Friday, September 12, 2014. The event, hosted by The Country Mill and Upright Farms in Charlotte MI, will feature nationally renowned guest speaker, Dr. Hans Kok! Hans is an Indiana based agriculture consultant who contracts with the Indiana Conservation Cropping Systems Initiative. He uses an innovative approach to teach producers about the importance of managing soils much like they would livestock or crops to maximize long term sustainability and farm economics.
In addition to Dr. Kok’s presentation, the Field Day will feature great demonstrations and discussions about improving soil health on the farm, integrated weed management tips to get more bang for your pesticide costs, and an update on the new Farm Bill. RUP credits will be available for certified pesticide applicators who attend and MAEAP phase 1 credit is available for all participants. Local businesses have donated prizes for the event, including cover crop seed from the Eaton Farm Bureau Co-op. Registration is $10 and covers lunch and materials. Farm Bureau members will receive a reduced rate at $5. Those interested in participating in the tour should contact the Eaton Conservation District (517) 543-5848 ext. 5 no later than September 9th to register.
Drones Added to Don’t Farm Naked Field Day!
An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAVs or drones) demonstration has been added to the Don’t Farm Naked Field Day on September 12th. Bruno Basso, associate professor at MSU, will be joining the agricultural field day to demonstrate his work using UAVs to model water and nutrient cycling in relation to agro-ecosystems. Basso is working to develop SALUS, a next-generation process-based model that integrates crop productivity with water, carbon, and nutrient fluxes in a spatially explicit manner.
Friday September 12th 9am-4pm
The Country Mill and Upright Farms
4648 Otto Road
Charlotte, MI 48813
Field Day Topics
Win Free Prizes and Cover Crop seed!
The Ingham Conservation District is hosting an agricultural field day on Tuesday August 19th entitled "Livestock Best Management Practices: Small Contributions and Big Impacts". The event begins at 8:45 and ends at 1:15. Lunch will be provided. Enjoy interesting and practical discussions on pasture health, manure and nutrient
management and weed control. MAEAP Phase 1 Credits and 5 Pesticide Recertification Credits are available. More details are provided on the attached flyer. Register today at www.inghamconservation.com.
The Clinton Conservation District will be hosting a Smart Drainage: Use it, Don’t lose it field day Thursday, August
28th from 8:30-noon at 2435 N Tallman Rd Fowler, MI.
The focus of the field day will be on water management practices that are both environmentally friendly and economically smart. Presentations will focus on reducing the risk of manure movement in tile lines, drainage control structures, nutrient runoff via a rainfall simulator, and responding to emergencies. Presenters will include Frank Gibbs, a retired NRCS soil scientist, who will showcase soil macropores via a smoke in a tile line demonstration and Phil Algreen, of AgriDrain, who will showcase a Drainage Control Structure which can be used to regulate the amount of water flowing out of a tile line.
RSVP’s to 989.224.3720 ext 3 are greatly appreciated!
by USDA NRCS | April 1,2014
For generations, children have been singing about the farmer, his wife and
kids, and even the mouse and the cheese. But today, a modern farmer is more
likely to be using the mouse on his computer (or more realistically, a
smartphone or tablet) than dancing around a small wooded valley with his family
and farm animals.
The website of USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service, nrcs.usda.gov, has been
evolving to keep pace with the needs of today's farmer, says NRCS Webmaster
"Our mission is to provide American farmers, ranchers and other visitors with
the tools and resources they are looking for on a site that is easy to use and
The most-effective websites combine clear and readable text, usability,
functionality and simple navigation. NRCS writes the text for targeted
audiences, which includes farmers and ranchers, as well as people who use NRCS
online tools, such as Web Soil Survey, PLANTS database and COMET-FarmTM.
Recently, the agency created a new Get Started with NRCS
page. This new webpage helps farmers, ranchers and forest landowners learn how
they can make improvements to their land with conservation.
This webpage features the five steps to getting assistance from NRCS, so that
farmers, ranchers and forest landowners can know about the process of applying
for assistance from the comfort of their own home, barn, tractor or wherever
else they hop online.
Also, NRCS revamped its About and Drought Resources pages
and created a Resources for Small Farms
page. About NRCS provides an overview of what NRCS offers,
including those popular tools that bring many visitors to the website.
Drought Resources houses information on assistance and resources that can
help farms and ranches be more resilient to drought. And finally, the Resources
for Small Farms page pulls together information and resources that may be of
interest to owners and managers of smaller farms, such as information on
organics and seasonal high tunnels.
NRCS uses a number of tools to help create these pages, including site
traffic and customer experience information. "We've found that more than 61
percent of people coming to our website were new visitors, many of whom were
farmers, ranchers and forest landowners looking for information on conservation
programs," O'Halloran said.
NRCS has about 13,000 visits per day on its national website. Some of the
most popular pages deal with soils, Web Soil Survey and the Farm Bill.
"We hope you enjoy these new and revamped pages, and we welcome feedback on
how we can improve our 'digital' service center," says O'Halloran. "We're
excited to have the opportunity to help you get started with
The 2014 annual meeting was a great success! We had a great meal, presented conservation awards, re-elected 2 board members, provided program updates, and saw the debut of the Greening Mid-Michigan Agriculture Video. Door Prizes and Silent auction made possible by many local businesses.
Popular Farm Bill conservation program seeks producer participation
WASHINGTON, Dec. 2, 2013
– The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is opening the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) for new enrollments for federal fiscal year 2014. Starting today through Jan. 17, 2014, producers interested in participating in the program can submit applications to NRCS.
“Through the Conservation Stewardship Program, farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners are going the extra mile to conserve our nation’s resources,” NRCS Chief Jason Weller said. “Through their conservation actions, they are ensuring that their operations are more productive and sustainable over the long run.”
The CSP is an important Farm Bill conservation program that helps established conservation stewards with taking their level of natural resource management to the next level to improve both their agricultural production and provide
valuable conservation benefits such as cleaner and more abundant water, as well as healthier soils and better wildlife habitat.
Weller said today's announcement is another example of USDA's comprehensive focus on promoting environmental conservation and strengthening the rural economy, and it is a reminder that a new Food, Farm and Jobs Bill is pivotal to continue these efforts. CSP is now in its fifth year and so far, NRCS has partnered with
producers to enroll more than 59 million acres across the nation.
The program emphasizes conservation performance — producers earn higher payments for higher performance. In CSP, producers install conservation enhancements to make positive changes in soil quality, soil erosion, water quality, water quantity, air quality, plant resources, animal resources and energy.
Some popular enhancements used by farmers and ranchers include:
• Using new nozzles that reduce the drift of pesticides, lowering input costs and making sure pesticides are used where they are most needed;
• Modifying water facilities to prevent bats and bird species from being trapped;
• Burning patches of land, mimicking prairie fires to enhance wildlife habitat; and
• Rotating feeding areas and monitoring key grazing areas to improve grazing management.
Eligible landowners and operators in all states and territories can enroll in CSP through January 17th to be eligible during the 2014 federal fiscal year. While local NRCS offices accept CSP applications year round, NRCS evaluates applications during announced ranking periods.To be eligible for this year’s enrollment, producers must have their applications submitted to NRCS by the closing date.
A CSP self-screening checklist is available to help producers determine if the program is suitable for their operation. The checklist highlights basic information about CSP eligibility requirements, stewardship threshold requirements and payment types.
Learn more about CSP by visiting the NRCS website or a local NRCS field office.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Stop 9410, Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call toll-free at (866) 632-9992 (English) or (800) 877-8339 (TDD) or (866) 377-8642 (English Federal-relay) or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish Federal-relay). USDA is an equal opportunity
Eaton County District Conservationist Tim Redder was recently featured on the Michigan Out of Doors show explaining how the Wetlands Reserve Program works.
The interview shows an extensive restoration project, converting 600 acres back to functional wetlands. This is located in Eaton County, MI, including Delta, Oneida, Benton, and Windsor townships.
Click this link to watch the video on youtube.
The Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) is a voluntary program for the
restoration and protection of wetlands on private property. Technical and
financial assistance is provided in return for placing a conservation easement
on the property either permanently or for a period of 30 years. Financial
assistance is provided to landowners for restoration and enhancement practices
that are implemented on the WRP easement
Hot off the press, the March newsletter is at the post office, coming soon to a mailbox near you.
Can't wait, click here to read it now!