Western Lake Erie Basin MI Conservation Assistance
August 29, 2015
USDA to Expand Conservation Assistance to Farmers in Western Lake Erie Basin
Farmers in Seven Michigan Counties Eligible for Additional Conservation Funds
EAST LANSING, Aug. 19, 2015—The U.S. Department of Agriculture is making $500,000 in conservation financial assistance available to Michigan farmers in the Western Lake Erie Basin. The funding is part of a $5 million investment announced by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to improve water quality in the basin.
“Runoff from farm land is one of the many sources of nutrients that contribute to harmful algae blooms on Lake Erie. The USDA is providing assistance for farmers to do their part to improve water quality in the basin,” said USDA State Conservationist Garry Lee.
Michigan farmers in the western Lake Erie basin, which includes all or portions of seven southeast Michigan counties, have until Aug. 28 to apply for the conservation funds. The funds will be used to assist farmers in implementing new conservation practices that will help improve water quality by reducing the amount of nutrients moving from farm land to surface water. Examples of practices eligible for financial assistance include cover crops, filter strips, nutrient management plans, residue and tillage management and conservation crop rotations.
Farmers in seven Michigan counties are eligible to apply for the funding, these include; Lenawee and Monroe and portions of Hillsdale, Jackson, Washtenaw and Wayne counties. A small portion of southeast Branch County is also eligible. Farmers can get more information and submit applications at their local USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service office. Successful applicants will receive financial assistance after contracted conservation activities are implemented.
Between 2009 and 2014, NRCS has invested approximately $57 million through Farm Bill Programs in the Lake Erie Basin which includes portions of Indiana, Michigan and Ohio. Studies are showing that between 2009 and 2014, the new steps farmers are taking with NRCS assistance have reduced annual nutrient and sediment losses by approximately 7 million pounds of nitrogen, 1.2 million pounds of phosphorous, and 488,000 tons of sediment in the Lake Erie Basin.