USDA makes $2 million available to farmers for conservation practices

USDA makes $2 million available to farmers for conservation practices

 This is a news release from the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service 

The United States Department of Agriculture/Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is making available $2 million to interested farmers to help install voluntary edge-of-field monitoring stations on agricultural lands in Mississippi, and seven other states.

Through edge-of-field monitoring, NRCS works with farmers and conservation partners, such as universities and non-governmental organizations, to monitor the amount of nutrients and sediment in water runoff and compare the improvements under different conservation systems. Conservation practices typically evaluated include planting cover crops with a no till system, irrigation water management and practices to reduce and trap nutrients and sediment.

"Edge-of-field water quality monitoring helps us evaluate the benefits of conservation at the field level," stated Kurt Readus, NRCS state conservationist for Mississippi. "This voluntary effort will increase economic efficiency for the producer and maximize yields while also conserving our natural resources."

Monitoring stations enable NRCS to measure at the edge of farm fields rather than try to estimate conservation effects from in-stream measurements that are subject to influences outside of the farmer's control. Edge-of-field monitoring, combined with instream monitoring, can provide a more thorough picture of the improvements within a watershed.

The funding is available to interested farmers in 327 watersheds across Arkansas, Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Vermont and Wisconsin.

NRCS first introduced edge-of-field monitoring as an opportunity through Farm Bill conservation programs in 2013 and has already funded the installation of 25 monitoring projects. The financial assistance is available through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and helps farmers install and maintain the monitoring systems for up to nine years.

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