INDIANAPOLIS — Funding is now available from USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Indiana to help Western Lake Erie Basin producers implement conservation practices on their land. This funding is provided through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) and will assist farmers in implementing practices designed to keep nutrients on fields and improve their watershed.
“I encourage all Western Lake Erie Basin farmers to look at their operations and determine how they could utilize these funds to continue improving their operations,” said Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, who also serves as Indiana Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development. “Every conservation practice implemented makes a difference both here in our state and downstream.”
The RCPP funding comes from a 2021 agreement totaling $7.8 million. Indiana, Michigan and Ohio each receive a portion of the funding to assist producers in implementing best management practices in an effort to reduce downstream runoff and ultimately decrease harmful algal blooms and phosphorus levels. The Tri-State RCPP promotes the coordination between NRCS and ISDA partners to implement conservation to landowners in the Western Lake Erie Basin. Counties in the Western Lake Erie Basin include parts of Adams, Allen, Dekalb, Noble, Steuben and Wells.
RCPP funding was made possible by USDA, our fellow partnering states and more than 40 collaborating public and private organizations on the state and local level. Eligible producers and forestland owners who wish to implement conservation practices on their land should discuss their options with their local district conservationist. While NRCS accepts program applications year-round, Indiana producers and landowners should apply by Jan. 20, 2023 to be considered for the current RCPP-WLEB funding cycle. Applications received after Jan. 20 will automatically be considered during the next funding cycle. For more information or to submit an application, contact your local district conservationist by visiting Farmers.gov/Service-locator.
“The Western Lake Erie Basin is a priority area for NRCS as we work with landowners and producers to minimize the impact agriculture has on the lake’s water quality,” said Dan Hovland, acting state conservationist for NRCS in Indiana. “This project shows the benefits of federal, state and non-governmental partners working together to have a lasting positive impact on the landscape that is greater than any of us could accomplish on our own.”
Indiana eligible practices for farmers in the Western Lake Erie Basin for this funding period include filter strips, structures for water control, habitat planting, livestock management, nutrient management and many others. Farmers are encouraged to contact their local NRCS office before Jan. 20 to apply for the current funding cycle. This funding will work with producers to improve the health and productivity of their operations.
“Indiana is setting the standard when it comes to conservation groups working together to support farmers and producers,” said ISDA Director Bruce Kettler. “This funding from RCPP is a great opportunity for Northeastern Indiana farmers who are looking to continue to add water quality enhancement practices to their operation, or for farmers who are interested in trying them for the first time.”
— Indiana State Department of Agriculture