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

 

Fact sheet: Guide To Cover Crop Cost-Share in Iowa

Cover crops are important for building soil health and protecting Iowa’s watersheds. The average cost is $37  per acre to implement cover crops. To assist farmers and landowners interested in implementing cover crops, there are many state and federal programs available that not only provide technical assistance, they also provide financial assistance for implementation.

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Good news from the House of Representatives on 2021 appropriations

With the national focus on the widespread impacts of the coronavirus, the normal order of things has been thrown in disarray. Annual appropriations for agricultural programs is no exception. 

However, last week the U.S. House of Representatives finalized an important stage of moving forward on planning for agricultural program spending in 2021, and there were several wins for rural communities. While there are no signs yet about when the Senate will move on appropriations, this House bill is a good starting point.

Woman landowner leads in building climate resiliency

Ann Wolf not only leads a strong conservation nonprofit organization in Iowa, but also as a woman landowner, focusing on building her climate resiliency.

Ann owns a 300-acre farm in Jackson County, Iowa—just 1 mile from the Mississippi River. The land has been in her family since 1943, and has been a conventional farm since 1862.

Iowa couple recognized with Citizenship Award

Mark Tjelmeland’s interest in conservation can be traced back to his childhood when his mother taught him about topsoil, subsoil, and why topsoil depth differed between locations on his family’s farm. Through school and experiences like these, Mark has been committed to conservation and climate efforts ever since.

He and his wife, Connie, have been farming for almost four decades, and haven’t been afraid to try new things in their operation. Over the years, they have prioritized natural resources and building their climate resiliency through various conservation practices.