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Category: Conservation Programs

Farming Together – It’s a Family Tradition

Posted by Natural Resources Conservation Service, Louisiana Public Affairs on July 06, 2016 at 08:15 AM
Kobe Williams, son of Travis Williams, holds an NRCS partnership sign as Elvadus Fields looks on.

Kobe Williams, son of Travis Williams, holds an NRCS partnership sign as Elvadus Fields looks on.

Soil erosion and drainage problems were plaguing Horace Robinson, Calvin Williams, and Travis Williams, a family of soybean farmers in the Mississippi Delta Region of Louisiana. They weren’t quite sure what to do to combat these problems while maintaining a productive farm.  

Enter Harvey Reed and Elvadus Fields. Read more >>

Tags: Louisiana, StrikeForce, EQIP, soil erosion

categories Discover Conservation, Conservation Programs, Farmer & Rancher Stories


More Boots on the Ground to Help Declining Songbird in Minnesota

Posted by Julie MacSwain, Minnesota Public Affairs Specialist on July 05, 2016 at 07:54 AM
The golden-winged warbler breeds in the Great Lakes region and the Appalachian Mountains. Photo: DJ McNeil

The golden-winged warbler breeds in the Great Lakes region and the Appalachian Mountains. Photo: DJ McNeil

Minnesota is a stronghold for the golden-winged warbler, a bird suffering a significant population decline. A new project brings together a nonprofit, a federal agency and private landowners to slow or even reverse this decline.

Golden-winged warblers depend on young forests for nesting. But across the country, including in Minnesota, forests have changed, and older forests have come to dominate huge areas. Both game and non-game species that rely on young forests are in decline.  Read more >>

Related Links

Tags: West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, forests, Working Lands for Wildlife, golden-winged warbler, Minnesota, Regional Conservation Partnership Program, Great Lakes region, Appalachian region

categories Landscape Initiatives, Conservation Programs, Discover Conservation, Environment, Plants & Animals


Innovative Program Leads the Way on Water Conservation

Posted by Julie MacSwain, Minnesota Public Affairs Specialist on June 29, 2016 at 01:32 PM
A landscape photo of a contour strip.

Since its start, MAWQCP has certified more than 170 farms totaling more than 91,000 acres. Together, the program keeps over 7.2 million pounds of sediment out of Minnesota rivers, reduces phosphorus application by 4,600 pounds, and saves nearly 10 million pounds of soil on farms, each year.

More than a hundred farms in Minnesota are part of a first-of-its-kind project that gives farmers peace of mind for using water-friendly practices on their fields. 

In 2013, the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service helped kick off the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program (MAWQCP) in four small watershed pilot project areas. Funded by the NRCS’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), the project offered producers who demonstrated superior water quality conservation management a 10-year certification by the State of Minnesota and regulatory certainty that they would be in compliance with any new state water quality laws and rules that take effect during the certification period. Read more >>

Tags: Minnesota, water quality, Regional Conservation Partnership Program

categories Conservation Programs, Environment, Landscape Initiatives, Water & Climate


Conservationists by Heart, Farmers by Trade

Posted by Amy Overstreet, Vermont Public Affairs Officer on June 14, 2016 at 02:46 PM
The Hulett family (left to right) Mandy, Richard, and their children.

The Hulett family (left to right) Mandy, Richard, and their children.

Vermont dairy farmers use bedded pack to help improve the herd, environment, and farm

For nearly 20 years, Richard Hulett and his father, Dick, have protected and improved the natural resources on Deer Flats Farm, their 1,000-acre cattle farm near Pawlet, Vermont. Winters in Pawlet can be long and snow, ice, mud, and manure can build up. That’s why the Huletts decided to put a bedded pack system to work on their operation.

Prior to the bedded pack, the cattle were on pasture. “It was a mess,” says Richard.   

“These barn systems are covered by a roof and filled with bedding material to provide manure storage and improve animal comfort and health,” says Sally Eugair, an NRCS soil conservation technician. Bedding costs are much higher for bedded pack than for any other housing, but can improve herd health by providing comfortable places for herds to spend the winter months.  Read more >>

Tags: Vermont

categories Farmer & Rancher Stories, Conservation Programs, Discover Conservation, Plants & Animals


Oregon Ranchers Nurture Milkweed, Lure Monarchs

Posted by Tracy Robillard, Oregon Public Affairs Specialist on June 01, 2016 at 08:31 AM
Laurie Halsey examines a cluster of milkweed plants on her ranch.

Laurie Halsey examines a cluster of milkweed plants on her ranch.

If you plant them, they will come.

That’s Warren and Laurie Halsey’s approach to improving monarch butterfly habitat on their 270-acre ranch in Benton County, Oregon.

“If there’s no milkweed, there’s no place for the monarchs to lay their eggs. They depend on it,” Warren said. “We started planting milkweed about 12 years ago when we got some seeds from the Audubon Society. We took it on as an experiment and planted them in different spots on the property. It was a struggle getting the plants going, but we figured out what worked and what didn’t. And then, when the monarchs appear, it’s a blessing. You just get really excited.”

After a decade of trial and error, and with help from multiple volunteers and partners, the Halseys now have 19 active milkweed clusters on their ranch. This year, they reported seeing more monarchs than ever before. Read more >>

Tags: Oregon, monarch butterfly, wetlands, pollinators

categories Plants & Animals, Conservation Programs, Environment, Farmer & Rancher Stories, Landscape Initiatives


Protecting and Restoring Wetlands in Vermont’s Otter Creek Watershed

Posted by Amy Overstreet, Vermont Public Affairs Officer on May 24, 2016 at 09:09 AM
Lyn and Jim Des Marais of Brandon, Vermont stand next to a sign on their 1,250 acre farm in the Otter Creek Watershed.

Lyn and Jim Des Marais of Brandon, Vermont are committed to protecting the wetlands on their 1,250 acre farm in the Otter Creek Watershed.

The Des Marais’ are living their dream in Brandon, Vermont. The view from their kitchen window looks out on a nearly 500-acre wetland where the Otter Creek meanders through pastures and grasslands and a diversity of wildlife thrives. That place is now Jim and Lyn Des Marais 1,250 farm.

“We feel incredibly fortunate to own this beautiful and historic property, and our goal is to preserve and protect it,” explains Jim.

And they are doing just that. Read more >>

Tags: Vermont, wetlands

categories Farmer & Rancher Stories, Conservation Programs


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