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Helping People Help the Land

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  1. UnitedStatesDepartmentofAgriculture Natural Resources ConservationService Helping People Help the Land USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service – Lexington, KY

  2. The Kentucky Conservation Partnership Kentucky has a long established partnership of conservation agencies. This partnership has enabled Kentucky to apply multiple conservation practices on the ground. The partnership includes federal and state agencies, 121 local conservation districts, as well as numerous conservation and environmental organizations.

  3. Successful Partnerships A three way partnership exists in Kentucky to carry our Farm Bill workload. The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has cooperative agreements with the Department for Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR) and the Division of Conservation (DOC), whereby NRCS pays 50% of the salary of highly qualified individuals from the respective state agency and the agency pays the other 50%. KDFWR has 15 employees and DOC has 25 dedicated to planning and implementation of Farm Bill Programs such as CRP/CREP, EQIP, and WHIP, and Conservation Technical Assistance (CTA). The State Cost Share Program and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) have several conservation practices in common that in the past, required landowners to choose between the two programs for certain practices. In fiscal year 2008, a different approach was adopted that offered a combined state and federal signup and combined payment on certain high priority conservation practices. On those practices shared by both programs, once approved through EQIP, the State Cost Share Program provided an additional cost share amount to the participant, bringing the final cost share rate up to as much as 85%. The result—more efficiency at the field office level and more direct service to the landowners. in Kentucky

  4. Farm Bill 2008 – Investments for the Future NRCS’ role in this partnership………….. This fiscal year, the new Farm Bill was put in place. The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 became law just over a year ago on May 22, 2008.

  5. 2008 Farm Bill Highlights Increases funding for Conservation programs Focuses on Agricultural and Forestry Working Lands Environmental Quality Incentives Program expanded Continues Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program Agricultural Management Assistance Conservation Stewardship Program and is a nationwide program (replaces Conservation Security Program) Wetlands Reserve Program appraisal issues resolved Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program funding expanded Creates an Open Fields Program to encourage public access to private land

  6. Conservation Technical Assistance Technical Services Service provided directly to farmers, ranchers, and other eligible entities, such as conservation planning, technical consultation, and assistance with design and implementation of conservation practices Technical Infrastructure Activities, processes, tools, and agency functions needed to support delivery of technical services, such as technical standards, resource inventories, training, data, technology, monitoring, and effects analysis

  7. Assistance to Certain Farmers and Ranchers to Improve Their Access to Conservation Programs: Ten percent funding set aside for Beginning and Socially Disadvantaged farmers or ranchers 5% funding set-aside for each group in EQIP A 5% acreage set-aside for each group in CSP Funds or acreage not obligated during a fiscal year would be returned to the general EQIP and CSP programs Conservation Access

  8. Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and RanchersBeginning Farmers and RanchersLimited Resource Farmers and Ranchers The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (2008 Farm Bill) continues to address the unique circumstances and concerns of socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, as well as beginning and limited resource farmers and ranchers. It provides for voluntary participation, offers incentives, and focuses on equity in accessing U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs and services. Enhancements include streamlined delivery of technical and financial assistance; improved programs and services; and flexibility in decision making (with most decisions made at the Tribal, State, or local level).

  9. A Limited Resource Farmer or Rancher or Forest Owner is an applicant: With direct or indirect gross farm sales not more than the current indexed value in each of the previous 2 years, and Who has a total household income at or below the national poverty level for a family of four, or less than 50 percent of county median household income in each of the previous 2 years. An entity or joint operation can be a Limited Resource Farmer or Rancher if all individual members independently qualify.

  10. Tools available Limited Resource Farmer Self-Determination Tool The purpose of the self determination tool is to enable potential limited resource farmers and ranchers to ascertain eligibility for various USDA programs and benefits.  This tool in available online at http://www.lrftool.sc.egov.usda.gov/

  11. Adjusted Gross Income Limitation - AGI • For conservation programs, persons or legal entities are eligible if— The average non-farm AGI is less than $1,000,000, or 2/3 of the average total AGI is from farming, ranching, or forestry The limitation may be waived on a case-by-case basis if: Environmentally sensitive land of special significance would be protected

  12. Regional Equity and Flexibility Increases the funding trigger from $12 million to $15 million Considers respective demand in each program in each state Requires a review and update of program allocation formulas by January 1, 2012

  13. Customer Service The Conservation Stewardship Program and the Wetlands Reserve Program have been made more responsive to customer needs Conservation Stewardship Program Allows for enrollment in every watershed every year Wetlands Reserve Program: Revises procedure for valuing property Streamlines review process

  14. Confidentiality (Section 1619)Strengthens the confidentiality provisions in current law. Receipt for Service or Denial of Service (Section 14003) Requires a receipt to anyone who requests at the time of service Details will include: • Date • Time • Place • Subject of the request • Action taken or not taken to anyone who requests a receipt at the time of request for USDA service

  15. NRCS Conservation Programs

  16. NRCS Conservation Programs Conservation Technical Assistance Environmental Quality Incentives Program Agricultural Water Enhancement Program Conservation Innovation Grants Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program Grassland Reserve Program Healthy Forests Reserve Program Conservation Reserve Program (administered by FSA – NRCS provides technical assistance) Wetlands Reserve Program Conservation Stewardship Program Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program Small Watershed Rehabilitation Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative

  17. Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) EQIP offers financial and technical assistance to agriculture and forestry producers to promote agricultural production, forest management, and environmental quality as compatible goals EQIP is a critical element of USDA conservation programs For organic producers: • Specific section on assistance with conservation practices utilized for organic production and transition • Payments for practices with organic production benefits limited to not more than $20,000 per year; $80,000 in 6 years For limited resource, socially disadvantaged and beginning farmers or ranchers: • Up to 90 percent cost share or at least 25 percent above the otherwise applicable rate • Advance payments to cover up to 30% of the cost of materials to install conservation improvements

  18. Agricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP) Replaces Ground and Surface Water Conservation Program A new activity within EQIP to promote ground and surface water conservation and improve water quality on agricultural lands.

  19. Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) Emphasis on efficient and effective transfer of innovative technologies and approaches and increased participation of specialty crop producers.

  20. Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) Protects Wildlife Habitat Assists landowners to develop and improve wildlife habitat on private or Tribal land WHIP LIMITATIONS: $50,000 annually per person

  21. Private Lands Protection Programs Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP) Provides matching funds to help State, tribal, or local governments and non-governmental organizations purchase development rights to keep productive farm and ranchland in agricultural uses Grassland Reserve Program (GRP) Assists landowners to restore and protect grassland, rangeland, pastureland, shrub land and certain other lands and provides assistance for restoration. Healthy Forests Reserve Program (HFRP) Assists landowners to restore and protect forest land resources and protects at risk species

  22. Land Retirement Programs Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) (through Farm Service Agency) Removes marginal croplands from production and encourages environmental enhancement on those lands Provides new Wildlife Habitat program initiative Reauthorizes and expands the flooded farmlands component of CRP Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) Protects Fragile Wetlands A voluntary, non-regulatory, incentive-based program that helps private landowners, farmers and ranchers protect and restore wetlands on their property

  23. Stewardship Program Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) (FY 2009 - 2017) CSP pays farmers who are improving conservation treatment on their working lands to encourage the continuation of farming and ranching practices that benefit soil, water, and air resources Conservation Security Program (CSP) (FY 2008 and before) Continues funding for current contract holders for signups conducted during fiscal years 2004 through 2008 No new enrollments No new modifications

  24. NEW INITIATIVES Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Program (Open Fields) Provides incentives to state governments and Indian tribes to provide public access to private land for hunting and fishing. Environmental Services Markets Establishment of science-based technical guidelines to measure environmental service benefits. Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative Directs 6% of funds and acres from Farm Bill Conservation Title programs, except CRP, WRP, FRPP, and GRP, be used for targeted conservation activities and areas. Funds and acres are directed at the State level (90 percent) and nationally (10 percent)

  25. Programs Reauthorized Small Watershed Rehabilitation Program Conservation of Private Grazing Land Resource Conservation & Development

  26. Kentucky NRCS AT-A-GLANCE FY 2008

  27. KENTUCKY At-a-Glance

  28. Example of a County Fact Sheet

  29. FY08 Program Accomplishments • Farm Bill • Funding Provided to Landowners: • CSP - $324,100 • EQIP - $15.1 million • WHIP - $1.4 million • WRP - $4.2 million • Technical Assistance - $22.82 million Contracts and Covered Land • CSP – 7 contracts - 14,244 acres • EQIP – 648 contracts - 72,991 acres • WHIP – 130 contracts - 6,823 acres • WRP – 17 easements - 1800 acres • Customer Service • 32,789 Customers assisted • 2,572 Practices planned • 1,986 Practices implemented • 5,310 Conservation Plans written on 438,059 acres • 4,633 Conservation Plans applied on 331,756 acres

  30. Staffing

  31. FY 2008 NUMBERS ● Wrote over 5,300 conservation plans for 438,059 acres. ● Wrote and applied 108 nutrient management plans. ● Applied conservation to improve soil quality on 138,968 acres of cropland. ● Applied conservation to protect and improve the resources base on 159,040 acres of grazing and forest land. ● Applied conservation to improve fish and wildlife habitat quality on 42,595 acres of non-federal land. ● Created, restored or enhanced 1,640 acres of wetlands.

  32. = $ 0 – 14 counties = $ 3,000 - $ 50,000 – 32 counties = $ 50,000 -$ 100,000 – 23 counties = $ 100,000 - $ 500,000 – 37 counties = $ 500,000 - $ 1,340,000 – 14 counties Counties with Farm Bill Program Dollars over $20 million statewide

  33. FY 2008 NUMBERS

  34. FY 2008 In fiscal year 2008, Kentucky Division of Conservation - 1063 State Cost Share Contracts at a cost of $10.6 million. Awarded a Congressional Earmark of $2 million for NRCS assistance for State Cost Share Programs. In the partnership, NRCS contributes over $1 million in technical service staff hours for State Cost Share Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Kentucky has 17,677 contracts protecting 380,296 acres. Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) Kentucky has 2893 contracts protecting 92,968acres. Kentucky received 4,531 EQIP applications. From these applications, 665 were funded for just over $15.5 million.

  35. Conservation Programs through time………. EQIP dollars obligated to Kentucky landowners since the beginning of the program in 1998 totals $77.9 million. FRPP funds have helped purchase 146 conservation easements and will help secure 18 more in the near future. In total, these federally-partnered conservation easements will cover more than 25,000 acres, of which almost 22,000 are considered prime and/or statewide important soils. Additionally, several farms have also been of historical or archaeological importance. Watershed Operations and Maintenance, and Remedial Repairs of Upstream Flood Control Dams Watershed Flood Prevention (PL-566) Watershed Rehabilitation NRCS Watershed Operations provides assistance to sponsoring local organizations of authorized watershed projects, planned and approved under the authority of the Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Act of 1954 (P.L. 83-566), and 11 designated watershed authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1944 (P.L. 78-534). NRCS provides technical and financial assistance to implement authorized watershed project plans for the purpose of flood mitigation; water quality improvements; watershed protection; soil erosion reduction; fish and wildlife enhancement; wetlands and wetland function creation and restoration; rural, irrigation water management; and municipal/industrial water supply.

  36. EQIP WHIP CSP WRP GRP FRPP CRP FY 2009 ALLOCATIONS

  37. EQIP WHIP CSP WRP GRP FRPP CRP EWP FY2009 Allocations with Emergency Watershed Protection

  38. FY 2009 ALLOCATIONS

  39. FY 2009 PROGRAM REQUESTS

  40. Emergency Watershed Protection Program Since January, NRCS has contracted EWP projects at a cost of $15.2 million January 2009 Ice Storm - Exigency: $1,044,315 January 2009 Ice Storm -Non-exigency: $6,672,730 May 2009 Floods: $4,950,000 June 2009 Floods: $2,500,000

  41. Kentucky E. W. P. Status Maps

  42. Kentucky E. W. P. Status Maps

  43. Kentucky E. W. P. Status Maps

  44. January 2009 Exigency

  45. January 2009 Exigency

  46. January 2009 Non-exigency

  47. May/June 2009 Exigency

  48. Before DaviessCounty January Exigency After

  49. Before Webster County January Exigency After

  50. After Seeding and mulching complete Webster County