EAST LANSING, May 7, 2015 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture is calling on Michigan farmers and private forest owners to sign up for conservation planning assistance by June 12. Conservation planning identifies resource concerns on farm and forest land and helps landowners obtain USDA financial assistance to address them.
“Conservation planning is the first step in obtaining financial assistance from the USDA for a wide variety of conservation practices,” said USDA State Conservationist Garry Lee. “Farmers and private forest owners who sign-up will receive free conservation planning from USDA conservationists during 2015.”
The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service provides conservation planning services to farmers and private forest land owners at no cost. NRCS also provides financial assistance for conservation activities on private land that help reduce soil erosion, improve water and air quality, and improve wildlife habitat. Some practices eligible for NRCS financial assistance include windbreaks, livestock waste storage, nutrient and pest management plans, grassed waterways, cover crops and timber stand improvement.
During conservation planning, an NRCS conservationist and the landowner or operator, walk the land and identify resource concerns. A conservation plan is developed prioritizing resource concerns and how the landowner can alleviate them. When the conservation plan is completed, the landowner may apply for USDA financial assistance to implement conservation practices that address the resource concerns identified in the plan. Program participants are not required to address the resource concerns identified, participation in USDA conservation programs is completely voluntary.
Applying for USDA conservation assistance is a competitive process. Completing a conservation plan does not guarantee that a landowner will receive financial assistance. However, developing a conservation plan is the first required step for enrolling in USDA conservation programs.
To learn more about USDA conservation programs and technical assistance contact your local USDA office or go the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service website at www.mi.nrcs.usda.gov.