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News Release

USDA Conservation Funds Available for St. Joseph River Watershed

EAST LANSING, Oct. 17, 2016— Michigan farmers in the St. Joseph River watershed have until Nov. 18, to submit applications for the latest round of conservation financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“The USDA, along with our state and local partners, are helping farmers protect the natural resources of the St. Joseph River watershed by incorporating conservaton practices while maintaining or improving production,” said USDA State Conservationist Garry Lee.

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is now accepting applications for financial assistance through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program. Financial assistance is available for implementing conservation practices that optimize ground water use and improve water quality. The portion of the St. Joseph River watershed in Michigan includes Branch, Cass and St. Joseph counties and portions of Berrien, Calhoun, Hillsdale, Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties.

USDA conservation financial assistance must be used for implementing designated conservation practices, some of these include; cover crops, nutrient management plans, grassed waterways, irrigation water management, prescribed grazing, filter strips, stream habitat improvement and residue management. Applications may be submitted at local NRCS offices. Farmers are encouraged to begin the application process as soon as possible.

The Michigan/Indiana St. Joseph River Watershed Conservation Partnership Program was selected for funding through the USDA Regional Conservation Partnership Program. The partnership includes a number of partner organizations, including American Indian tribes, led by NRCS and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. Partner organizations will assist in promoting conservation to landowners and monitoring the impact of conservation practices implemented through the program.

Landowners should make an appointment with their local NRCS office as soon as possible to begin the conservation planning process. For more information about conservation financial assistance available through the Michigan/Indiana St. Joseph River Watershed Conservation Partnership Program, visit the NRCS Michigan website at www.mi.nrcs.usda.gov.