Conservation

As an advocate for healthy, vibrant rural communities, the Center for Rural Affairs has seen the important role that conservation plays for farmers and ranchers.

Conservation practices, such as cover crops, crop rotation, advanced grazing practices, and a host of others, are the bedrock of land stewardship for family farms and ranches. Often, in addition to conserving valuable natural resources such as water and soil, these practices can also offer risk management and economic benefits. For example, building healthy soil allows for greater resiliency to the negative impacts of both drought and heavy rainfall.

Several farm bill programs offer farmers and ranchers valuable support to pursue these conservation practices on their operations. Through the full farm bill cycle, from debate to enactment, the Center for Rural Affairs works to ensure these programs continue to support farmers and ranchers in building the productivity and sustainability of their operations while also managing natural resources.

The Center for Rural Affairs focuses our work on working lands conservation programs, which offer opportunities for farmers and ranchers to conduct conservation activities while continuing production. The Conservation Stewardship Program, or CSP, is a particularly important working lands program that allows farmers and ranchers who are already implementing conservation practices on their land to increase and further strengthen conservation across their operation. Another major working lands program, the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, or EQIP, offers farmers and ranches the opportunity to add individual conservation practices to their operations.

If you are interested in enrolling in these programs, visit your local U.S. Department of Agriculture - Natural Resource Conservation Service office to learn more. Locate your local office here.

The Center for Rural Affairs is committed to ensuring that programs such as CSP and EQIP work for farmers and ranchers, but cannot do it without your engagement. Want to get involved? Contact us at annaj@cfra.org, kateh@cfra.org, or 402.687.2100.

Conservation Notes

 

Conservation Innovation Grants Beginning Farmer Case Study: Alex McKiernan and Chloe Diegel

Alex McKiernan and Chloe Diegel own Robinette Farms near Martell, Nebraska. Robinette Farms is comprised of 110 acres, with 10 to 12 acres for vegetable production. They grow 40 varieties of crops, during both the warm and cool seasons, utilizing unheated hoop houses and greenhouses. There is also a variety of grazing livestock, including cattle, hogs, broilers, laying hens, and lambs.

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Conservation Innovation Grants Beginning Veteran Farmer Case Study: Mariel and Anthony Barreras

Mariel and Anthony Barreras own Barreras Family Farm near Blair, Nebraska. Their current operation is primarily comprised of animals: 25 beef, 12 goats, 12 hogs, and 800 pastured chickens on 70 acres. They also host agrotourism and community events.

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Iowa EQIP application deadline March 20

“The future of the small farmer is to be innovative — there’s no question about that,” said Larry Haren of Webster City, Iowa.

Larry has always sought to be innovative in his operation, which includes row crops, hay and raising registered Polled Herefords. Over the last decade, he has implemented conservation practices with support from the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

Iowa bill to boost state sales tax would help with conservation

DES MOINES, IOWA— Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds is trying to build support for a 1-cent sales-tax increase that would help fund conservation programs. It's a tough sell in the Legislature, but some groups are throwing their support behind the plan.

A portion of the tax hike would fulfill a 2010 constitutional amendment to the Iowa Water and Land Legacy trust fund. No money has been added to the fund since it was created, leaving rural areas to struggle with the effects of climate change.