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Funding Available for Western Lake Erie Basin Agricultural Producers and Landowners to Implement Conservation Practices
November 09, 2023
Applications due no later than December 15, 2023
LANSING—The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), in partnership with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD), is providing funding for agricultural producers and landowners to implement conservation practices in the Western Lake Erie Basin (WLEB). Participating farmers will receive funding to improve soil health, reduce phosphorus and sediment loading, and prevent harmful algal blooms (HABs) in WLEB.
The federal funding is available through the Farm Bill as part of the Tri-State Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) which is an ongoing effort between more than 30 local partners throughout Michigan, Indiana and Ohio and is being led by the Indiana State Department of Agriculture. The goal of the RCPP program is provide additional support to reduce phosphorus loading into the WLEB through a variety of conservation practices.
"This program is one of the tools in the toolbox providing support for our farmers prioritizing climate smart agriculture practices, implementing proactive land management and adopting conservation strategies to reduce nutrient loss," said MDARD Director Tim Boring. "Every new conservation practice implemented can help make a difference in protecting our water quality for future generation and minimize future harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie."
Michigan's funding will focus on conservation and climate smart farming practice implementation in the Lime Creek, Nile Ditch, Stony Creek (South Branch River Raisin), S.S. LaPointe Drain, Covell Drain, and Silver Creek sub-watersheds within the WLEB. However, all agricultural lands within Michigan's portion of the WLEB are eligible to apply. Eligible practices include but are not limited to nutrient management, waste storage structures, drainage water management, and more.
Applications are taken on a year-round basis; however, interested Michigan producers and landowners should apply no later than December 15 for the current funding cycle.
USDA-NRCS provides a higher level of financial assistance for beginning farmers and historically underserved producers. More information about RCPP and how to apply can be found at your local NRCS office or online at www.mi.nrcs.usda.gov.