The Daily Item
MIDDLEBURG — Due to the recent government shutdown, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has extended the deadline to apply for Fiscal Year 2014 financial assistance through Farm Bill programs to Nov. 15.
This assistance is designed to help producers implement conservation practices that improve natural resources on farms, forestland, and wetland areas throughout Pennsylvania. Although the deadline to submit applications to be considered in the first ranking period is Nov. 15, applications received after that date will be accepted and considered for funding if funds are available after the first signup cycle applications are processed.
While a new Farm Bill has not been approved, NRCS is making contingency plans to continue to work with farmers and landowners who want to implement conservation practices. Based on proposed legislation, it appears that the same types of conservation practices that are currently available for assistance will continue to be available. The names of the programs that provide funding are subject to change depending on final legislation.
Practices that reduce soil erosion and nutrient loss on cropland; help farmers manage manure and nutrients associated with livestock production; help forest landowners better manage woodlands; improve wildlife habitat, or improve grazing systems are anticipated to continue to be eligible for funding assistance. Individual practices that have been historically popular include: waste storage facilities, grass waterways, no-till, cover crops, streamside buffers, prescribed grazing, feed management, nutrient management, and forest stand improvement. Funding for conservation easements that provide for permanent protection of grassland and wetlands is also anticipated to be available.
Applicants can request funding through the same programs that have been available through the current 2008 Farm Bill, and if changes are made as a result of a 2013 Farm Bill, NRCS will transfer those applications to the appropriate program for consideration. Applicants do need to specify what they are requesting assistance for at the time they are filing out their application.
To take advantage of the technical assistance and expertise or federally funded conservation on your farm or land, contact your local USDA NRCS Field Office. In Snyder County, call (570) 837-0007 ext. 3, in Union County, call (570) 524-2549 ext. 2. Additional program information and applications are also available on the NRCS website at www.pa.nrcs.usda.gov.