USDA conservation funds available for St. Joseph River watershed

Published 10:19 am Thursday, January 14, 2016

Farmers in the St. Joseph River watershed may apply for conservation financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for implementing new conservation practices on their land.

“The USDA, along with our state and local partners, are helping farmers protect the natural resources of the St. Joseph River watershed by incorporating practices that protect natural resources while maintaining or improving production,” said USDA State Conservationist Garry Lee.

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is now accepting applications for financial assistance through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program.

Financial assistance is available for implementing conservation practices that optimize ground water use and improve water quality.

The portion of the St. Joseph River watershed in Michigan includes Branch, Cass and St. Joseph counties and portions of Berrien, Calhoun, Hillsdale, Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties.

USDA conservation financial assistance must be used for implementing designated conservation practices, some of these include; cover crops, nutrient management plans, grassed waterways, irrigation water management, prescribed grazing, filter strips, stream habitat improvement and residue management. Applications may be submitted at local NRCS offices. Applications received by Feb. 19 and March 18 will be considered for 2016 funding. Farmers are encouraged to begin the application process as soon as possible.

The Michigan/Indiana St. Joseph River Watershed Conservation Partnership Program was selected for funding through the USDA Regional Conservation Partnership Program. The partnership includes a number of partner organizations, including American Indian tribes, led by NRCS and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. Partner organizations will assist in promoting conservation to landowners and monitoring the impact of conservation practices implemented through the program.

For more information about conservation financial assistance available through the Michigan/Indiana St. Joseph River Watershed Conservation Partnership Program, visit the NRCS Michigan website at