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News Release

Tour Features Projects That Improve Water Quality and Soil Health in Mississippi River Basin

News Release - Indiana

United States Department of Agriculture
Natural Resources Conservation Service

6013 Lakeside Boulevard
Indianapolis, IN  46278
www.in.nrcs.usda.gov

Lafayette, IN (March 15, 2012)—If you missed yesterday’s Wild Cat Creek Watershed tour of water quality projects in Tippecanoe County, here is a quick recap. The tour was hosted by the Greater Wabash River Resource Conservation and Development Council, Inc. (RC&D) to promote their work on the Mississippi River Basin Initiative (MRBI) projects in 5 north central Indiana Counties. 

With funding from USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Walton Family Foundation, the RC&D, along with Soil and Water Conservation Districts and many other partners are working to improve soil and water quality of the Mississippi River Basin and ultimately, the hypoxia issue in the Gulf of Mexico.

The project involves agricultural land in the watershed in Carroll, Clinton, Howard, Tippecanoe and Tipton Counties. These farmers are taking advantage of unique opportunities to improve soil health, a direct link to enhanced water quality and wildlife habitat!

Under the MRBI, these producers are working to implement conservation practices that avoid, control and trap nutrient runoff. At the same time, farmers are maintaining and improving agricultural productivity. To learn more about MRBI visit www.nrcs.usda.gov and click on Programs.

“The cost of trying some of these new methods and technologies is a definitely a barrier for most farmers, which is why this project is so important,” explains Leah Harden, Vice President of Greater Wabash. 

Today’s tour began at the Carl Cox farm to learn about soil health and hear about changes the Cox family has made with funds received from this MRBI. Special guests included staff from the offices U.S. Representative Todd Rokita and U.S. Senator Dan Coats. The group then traveled to three other farms in Tippecanoe and Clinton Counties to talk with farmers and staff to learn about animal waste utilization, cover crops, and to discuss equipment modifications need to improve soil health. The tour wrapped up with Purdue Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Doug Smith discussing his efforts to document the impact of these new conservation practices are having in the Wildcat Creek watershed.

Throughout the day, the success of this collaborative partnership was evident.  Farmers expressed their appreciation for funds that help them change the way they work with the land and technical assistance from agency staff. The RC&D has leveraged funds from a number of sources to help extend the reach of this project which is in its third year and going strong.

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Contacts:
Jane Hardisty, NRCS State Conservationist, 317-290-3200
Rebecca Fletcher, State Public Affairs Specialist, 317-290-3200, ext 325

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