SOURCE: USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

October 30, 2007 09:25 ET

USDA Initiative Benefits Farmers and Technical Service Providers

HARRISBURG, PA--(Marketwire - October 30, 2007) - Pennsylvania Farmers and Technical Service Providers (TSPs) have an opportunity to work together to develop Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plans (CNMPs) under a new USDA initiative.

USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) staff have worked with farmers to develop CNMPs for many years. This new initiative will give farmers the option to have a CNMP plan developed by a private industry consultant rather than a USDA-NRCS employee. A maximum of $7,000 can be contracted with a farmer through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) for CNMP development. Farmers can apply for EQIP at any time; applications submitted by November 30th will be considered for the next round of funding. This date applies for other EQIP funding requests as well.

This initiative is for development of a CNMP plan only; there is no requirement for farmers to implement the plan. Farmers who want to implement practices in their plan can submit another funding request for that. Farmers who have developed a CNMP plan, whether through this initiative or by working with NRCS directly, will receive preference when requesting funding for practice implementation. Funding for EQIP practice implementation funding is limited, so farmers can take this step to make their EQIP applications more competitive in the ranking process.

According to USDA-NRCS State Conservationist Craig Derickson, "TSPs stand to benefit from this program because it will put more dollars in the hands of the private sector that will do the planning work. It will help to build the capacity and expertise for doing conservation work for non-USDA employees. The more people we have involved in doing quality conservation work, the better it is for the farming community and the environment. NRCS welcomes TSPs to assist us in getting conservation work accomplished."

Four issues are addressed in a Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan: 1) Manure and Wastewater Storage and Handling, 2) Nutrient Management, 3) Land Treatment including Conservation Planning, and 4) Record Keeping. A fifth optional element is Feed Management. Nutrient Management Planning and some of the Manure Handling and Waste Water Storage can be accomplished through the State Conservation Commission's Act 38 Nutrient Management Planning process. There should be no duplication of services or confusion between the state and federal programs since the two agencies have worked together to make the programs compatible.

Since TSPs need to be certified by NRCS to do the work, starting the training and certification process early will better ensure certification can be confirmed by the time farmers begin to receive contracts and are seeking qualified TSPs to do their CNMP plan.

The USDA-NRCS provides leadership in a partnership effort to help people conserve, maintain, and improve our natural resources and environment. Additional information about USDA-NRCS programs can be obtained through the website at www.pa.nrcs.usda.gov or by contacting the local USDA Service Center. The Spanish/English toll free number is 1-866-232-0690.

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Barry Frantz
    (717) 237-2216