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Conservation Connection e-blast - May 25, 2010

Conservation Connection e-blast

Conservation Connection e-blast...the latest news from NRCS Massachusetts and our partners

USDA urges Massachusetts farmers to sign up now for Conservation Stewardship Program

field and treesMassachusetts farmers are invited to apply for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). Authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill, CSP offers payments to producers who maintain a high level of conservation on their land and who agree to adopt higher levels of stewardship. Eligible lands include cropland, pastureland and non-industrial forestland. The deadline to be considered for the current ranking and funding period is June 11, 2010.

NRCS offers assistance with forest land planning in Massachusetts

autumn treesAre you looking for technical and financial assistance with improving wildlife habitat, forest health and productivity, and water quality on your private forest lands? If so, the United States Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) may be able to help. The agency has targeted $720,000 of federal Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP) funds to assist Massachusetts forest land owners with forest land planning and management. Massachusetts is one of seven states offering this forestry initiative; the other New England states and New York are also participating. The application deadline in Massachusetts is June 15, 2010.

Looking for the best way to save money - and save energy - on your farm?

The Mass Farm Energy Program (MFEP) is helping farmers plan and fund their energy efficiency projects. Whether you're considering thermal screens or better insulation for your greenhouse, energy saving measures for your dairy, maple, vegetable, fruit or other farm activities, the MFEP can help you identify next steps related to agricultural energy use and prepare for grant programs with a targeted energy audit. When you are ready implement audit recommendations, MFEP also provides financial incentives, up to $5,000 based on energy savings, for you to complete the work. The MFEP can also assist you in pursuing other incentive programs and grants to cover more of your costs for a short payback period on your energy projects.

For more information, contact Jess Cook at Berkshire-Pioneer RC&D, 413-256-1607,, or visit

Learn how to raise and graze livestock at Mass Grass events

Local farmers and anyone interested in learning about grazing livestock are invited to attend a series of educational events this summer and fall. Learn how to develop grazing systems and improve animal growth and production through better pasture management directly from experienced Massachusetts livestock farmers and agricultural educators.

Mass Grass is a state-wide grazing group of Massachusetts livestock farmers and agricultural organizations including the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project, the Northeast Organic Farming Association/Massachusetts Chapter, UMass Extension, UMass Center for Agriculture, and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Deadline is approaching for the 2010 Massachusetts Agriculture Calendar photo contest

Photographers who enjoy capturing images of the Bay State's farms and farm and horticultural products are invited to enter the 2010 Massachusetts Agriculture Calendar Photo Contest. Winning entries will be published in the 2011 Massachusetts Agriculture Calendar. The contest and calendar are sponsored by Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom, Inc., the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR), and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

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Helping People Help the Land

NRCS Massachusetts State Office: 451 West Street, Amherst, MA 01002 | 413-253-4350 | fax 413-253-4395 |  

Christine S. Clarke, State Conservationist

Massachusetts Conservation Connection editor: Diane Baedeker Petit, Public Affairs Officer

NRCS field offices are located at USDA Service Centers in Barnstable, Greenfield, Hadley, Holden, Pittsfield, Westford and West Wareham.
Visit for addresses and phone numbers.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.