NRCS Announces $328 Million for Agricultural Conservation Easement Program
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said yesterday that the Department of Agriculture is investing $328 million to help private landowners protect and restore key farmlands, grasslands and wetlands. $3.4 million of this will be available in Indiana. The 2014 Farm Bill created the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) to protect critical wetlands and keep lands in farming for the future.
"Conservation easements help Hoosier farmers protect valuable agricultural lands from development while enhancing lands best suited for grazing and wetlands to their natural conditions," Jane Hardisty, Indiana's State Conservationist said. "These easements are making a dramatic and positive impact for food supply, rural communities, and species habitat."
Read more about this program in the complete USDA press release
and continue reading below for details about upcoming local informational meetings about ACEP.
Conservation Organizations Invited to Learn About Indiana Easement Programs
Entities interested in learning more about the new USDA - NRCS easement programs are invited to attend a two hour meeting titled Conservation Easements and Partnership Efforts to Conserve Indiana's Private Land on September 24, 2014.
NRCS professionals will be on hand to answer any questions about ACEP's two easement programs - the Wetland Reserve Easements (WRE) and the Agricultural Land Easements (ALE).
The meeting will be from 1:30-3:30 pm and will be held at the Indiana NRCS State Office located at 6013 Lakeside Boulevard, Indianapolis. Those who are unable to attend the meeting will also have the opportunity to participate through a webinar. There will be no cost for this workshop but participants are asked RSVP by September 19th to Lisa Bolton ([email protected]) or by calling (317) 295-5800.
More information is available on the Indiana NRCS website
"Livestock, Forages, and Cover Crops for Healthier Soils" Field Day Next Week!
Hollen Family Farms raises grass-fed beef and uses cover crops as part of a transition from row-crop to permanent pasture. Photo credit: Chris Hollen
You will learn about:
- Cover Crops & Grazing
- Soil Health Systems with Livestock and Cover Crops After Silage
- Forage & Cover Crops
- Aerial Seeding, Soil Pits, and Rain Simulator Demonstrations
Other Conservation News
Indiana Master Naturalists Invite Public to "The World Beneath Our Feet, an Appreciation of Life in the Soil"
The Elkhart County Indiana Master Naturalists (IMN) and sponsors are hosting the 2014 IMN State Gathering, and you are invited to attend the keynote session featuring Dr. James B. Nardi, author of Life in the Soil, A Guide for Naturalists and Gardeners. Although the conference is only for Master Naturalists, Class Sponsors, and Class Presenters, we invite the public to attend this keynote session free of charge.
The session, "The World Beneath Our Feet, an Appreciation of Life in the Soil" will take place on Saturday, October 11 from 10:15-11:15 am, at Prairie Camp (63526 County Road 9, Goshen, IN 46526).
Register by September 5 by contacting the Elkhart County SWCD at: (574) 533-4383, ext. 3 or [email protected]
Once a month, we'll be featuring recent successful activities and projects put on by different districts from around the state. If you'd like to share a success story from your county, please write us at [email protected] to be included in a future District Spotlight!
Steuben County Youth Conservation Field Day
On September 9, the Steuben County SWCD hosted a successful Youth Conservation Field Day for 306 local fourth grade students at Pokagon State Park.
The children took part in many activities throughout the day, including talks on wildlife, water safety, job duties of conservation officers, entomology, fish management, soils, water quality, and more! The purpose of the day was to provide a foundation of knowledge about natural resource conservation.
One of the big hits of the day for the students was a performance by the Dumpster Drummers of Fort Wayne. The Drummers are a musical group who teach about recycling by using recycled materials and dumpsters to create music.
The Dumpster Drummers entertain while teaching about recycling. Photo: Kayleen Hart
Kayleen Hart, the SWCD administrative coordinator, said, "The children love it. They think they are 'awesome.' The first year, The Northeast Solid Waste District (NESWD) sponsored them for the field day performance, but this year our office received a SARE Youth Educator Grant which will assist with half the cost for the next two years. The NESWD still picks up the other half."
The teachers also see value in the conservation activities for their students. In particular, they enjoy the soils sessions because of the visual demonstrations about erosion and keeping the soil covered, as well as the tie-in with subjects included on the ISTEP test.
The Steuben County SWCD thanks their partner agencies for their help in putting on the event, donating time, and educational materials.