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Conservation Technical Assistance Initiative (CTAI)
The CTAI Program provides benefits to Michigan landowners by technicians who provide conservation and engineering assistance to landowners, allowing them to receive federal cost share dollars for implementation of engineered conservation practices. The program splits the cost between the USDA-NRCS and the MDARD and employs 18 engineers and soil conservationists in conservation district offices state-wide. The environmental benefits gained through this program provide benefits to all of Michigan’s citizens. The Program resulted in over $11 million in federal cost share coming to Michigan as a result of their work and provided over 50 different types of conservation practices, with 960 conservation practices being installed in 2013. Prior to implementation of this program, a backlog of engineering technical assistance through the USDA-NRCS resulted in Michigan landowners being unable to receive the federal cost share dollars for installation of conservation practices. The positive result is less dollars going back to Washington for distribution to other states. This effort is funded via a 50/50 agreement between USDA NRCS and Fresh Water/Groundwater restricted funds.
The 11 CTAI soil conservationists assist NRCS and conservation districts in implementing farm bill programs and practices that enable farmers to reduce identified environmental risks on their farms and become MAEAP verified. In addition, a portion of the Soil Cons time is dedicated to direct MAEAP assistance such as providing Risk Assessments to farmers.
The 7 CTAI engineers work under the direction of the NRCS Area Engineer on Farm Bill practices that require engineering to be completed. Implementing these engineered practices can enable a farmer to become MAEAP verified. The positions are funded about 50/50 from USDA NRCS agreements and Fresh Water/Groundwater restricted funds.