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Conservation Connection e-blast - October 26, 2011

Conservation Connection e-blast

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

USDA announces sign-up dates for conservation programs in Massachusetts

An NRCS employee consults with a customer.NRCS has announced three rounds of funding for four conservation program in Massachusetts. These federal programs, authorized under the 2008 Farm Bill, provide financial and technical help to farmers and forest land owners to protect soil, water and other natural resources. The assistance is available through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), the Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP), Agricultural Management Assistance (AMA), and the Grassland Reserve Program (GRP), all administered by NRCS. NRCS will offer three ranking periods with the following closing dates: February 3, March 30, and June 1, 2012. Farmers can submit applications for these programs anytime throughout the year; all complete applications will be batched and ranked on these closing dates for funding decisions.

Understanding the 2008 Farm Bill Conservation Programs handbook coverNRCS publishes handbook to help you understand several conservation programs

Massachusetts farmers and forest land owners considering looking for financial and technical help from NRCS  now have a resource to help them understand what's involved in applying for and participating in several federal conservation programs. "Understanding the 2008 Farm Bill Conservation Programs" is an eight-page handbook that walks landowners through the entire process from conservation planning to submitting an application to signing the contract, and beyond.

Networking event brings local farmers and energy experts togetherMass. Farm Energy BMP Guide cover

The Massachusetts Farm Energy Program (MFEP), a project of Berkshire-Pioneer RC&D, celebrated the release of the Massachusetts Farm Energy Best Management Practices Guide with a Farm Energy Networking Event on Monday, October 17th at Bramble Hill Farm in Amherst, Mass. This event linked farmers with energy experts and resources, including state and federal agencies, installers, vendors, and public utilities to initiate on-farm energy projects. This event linked farmers with energy experts and resources, including state and federal agencies, installers, vendors, and public utilities to initiate on-farm energy projects.

From the USDA Blog:

Jim Lyons at the Nichols Dam project site.Massachusetts dam stands up to Tropical Storm Irene

Just before Tropical Storm Irene hit Massachusetts, employees of USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), including civil engineer Jim Lyons, were informed of the storm's potential impact on a dam rehabilitation project that was underway in Westborough, Mass., a suburban community west of Boston. Read Jim's account of a weekend spent monitoring the dam while Irene raged around him.

Massachusetts Fall Loan Deadline: November 4th, 2011

The Carrot Project has announced that their loan fund serving farms and on-farm value added businesses in Massachusetts will be accepting prequalified applications for our Fall deadline through November 4th, 2011 for loans of $35,000 or less. There are two additional upcoming deadlines on January 6th, 2012 and March 2, 2012.  For more information, visit their website at or contact Benneth Phelps at or 617.674.2371

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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.