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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Top 5 of 2019: Iowa farmer shows conservation and economics go hand in hand

Countdown time! With less than one week remaining in 2019, a recap is in order. Starting today through the end of the year, we'll review the five best Center stories of the year, chosen by the most views on our website.

Number five features a piece authored by Kayla Bergman and Kate Hansen. They interview Mark Tjelmeland who has farmed alongside his wife near McCallsburg, Iowa, for almost four decades. Together, they prioritize our natural resources and climate through various conservation practices. The blog was posted in September.

Input needed on Conservation Stewardship Program farm bill updates

On Nov. 12, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced changes to the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), the nation’s largest conservation program. A public comment period is now underway, and we encourage you to submit a comment on the changes, especially if you have held or applied for a CSP contract.

The comment period is an extremely important time for farmers’ and ranchers' voices to be heard, as USDA is required to read and address each comment they receive.