Here is a general overview of some of the more common conservation programs offered by the state and/or federal government. Please call or stop by and let Stevens SWCD help you. Our staff can assist you with choosing the right conservation practice(s) for you and we can show you different project options, as well as complete the planting or construction for you.
We work closely with the Farm Service Agency (FSA) and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to determine the best option for your land and to obtain the maximum cost share available.
We look forward to helping your conservation efforts. All landowners, including those who are unable to receive cost share, will appreciate the Stevens SWCD’s high survival rates, increased growth rates, and dedicated commitment to customer service. Contact us today!
Water Quality Efforts in the Pomme de Terre Watershed
The MPCA listed the Muddy Creek to Marsh Lake reach of the Pomme de Terre River as impaired for excess levels of fecal coliform and turbidity (clarity). Stevens SWCD now houses a Pomme de Terre River Watershed Project Coordinator who serves citizens within the Pomme de Terre Watershed in Stevens, Douglas, Grant, Otter Tail, Swift and Big Stone counties and will be working with landowners to develop best management practices and projects that will work to decrease fecal coliform entering the river and also decrease erosion on the banks of the river, which causes turbidity.
The Pomme de Terre River Association’s Joint Powers Board (JPB) is made up of county commissioners and SWCD supervisors from each of the six counties in the watershed. The Watershed Project Coordinator will be working with the JPB, the MPCA, and with citizen groups, to develop and implement a plan for restoring the turbidity and fecal coliform levels to within the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) established.
Please visit www.pdtriver.org to learn more about the Pomme de Terre River watershed and the work that is being done to restore it and protect it from further damage.
Anyone interested in becoming a part of the stakeholder group should contact the Stevens SWCD at 320-589-4886 ext. 3.
Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is the federal government’s single largest environmental improvement program. It takes crop land out of production and plants vegetative cover (trees &/or native grasses) in order to prevent topsoil erosion, improve water quality, and provide wildlife habitat.
CRP is administered through the Farm Service Agency. CRP contracts, which are entered into during occasional sign-up periods, last between 10-15 years. Farmers receive annual rental payments, incentive payments in certain cases, and cost- share assistance to establish the protective vegetation. SWCD staff work closely with FSA and are here to help with everything from planning to planting your CRP projects. We can take a look at your land and recommend CRP or another conservation program that will help you get the most financial benefit for taking your marginal crop land out of production.
Continuous Conservation Reserve Program (CCRP) is a program designed to help farmers put in conservation buffers (filter strips, riparian buffers, shelter belts, field windbreaks, grass waterways, and more) that help them stay profitable while protecting the land. The program allows you to enroll eligible land for 10 or 15 year contracts. You can enroll at any time, unlike a regular CRP contract, and you do not have to submit a competitive offer. You will receive an annual payment, plus implementation costs for each practice you put in.
Most practices include planting native grasses and forbs (flowers). Natives make much better wildlife habitat and hold up better in tough conditions. There are several different options for practices you can implement, based on the type of land. With this program, it is easy to install borders or strips while leaving the remaining land for crop production. CCRP also allows landowners to utilize the highest quality products in their projects with minimal out of pocket expenses. To be eligible for CCRP, the project must be located on land with a recent cropping history and be designed to meet NRCS criteria.
You can find out more about CRP and CCRP by visiting http://www.fsa.usda.gov/conservation.
The RIM-WRP Partnership restores wetlands and grasslands through permanent conservation easements on privately owned lands. RIM-WRP combines the Reinvest In Minnesota (RIM) Reserve program, administered by the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources, with the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP), administered by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The RIM-WRP partnership is implemented by local Soil and Water Conservation Districts. The land appraised at the administrators’ expense and then the landowner is paid for the appraised value of the land for a permanent easement on the land. The landowner can still control access to the land for hunting and certain other recreational uses. The land may be sold in the future for the same appropriate uses.
EQIP is a program for helping farmers put soil and water conservation practices on working farmland. EQIP provides technical assistance and cost-share payments to producers. Producers work with conservation professionals such as the NRCS and develop a plan of operations for their land. Selection is based on which applications feature projects that will offer the greatest environmental benefit. Funded projects receive cost-share funds to implement their plan. Cost share varies, but typically in Stevens County, many of the funded projects received about 50%. For new or limited resource farmers, even more financial assistance is available.
Some of the projects that can be funded through EQIP include terraces, conservation tillage, nutrient management plans, animal waste management structures, grazing management, wetland restorations, grassed waterways, streambank protection, pest management, and buffer/filter strips.
You can find out more about EQIP at the Minnesota NRCS web site, http://www.mn.nrcs.usda.gov.
The State of Minnesota, through the Board of Water and Soil Resources, offers cost share to either compliment federal cost share or to help landowners who don’t have crop history or are otherwise ineligible for federal cost share. Farmstead or field windbreaks, and water and sediment control basins are some of the more common projects that are funded with state cost share in Stevens County. State cost sharing does not exceed 75% of eligible project costs. Ask about whether your project might be eligible for state cost share instead of or in addition to the federal cost share you might be getting.