George Cummins and Brian Lang, Crops Field Specialists, Northeast Area
The Conservation Security Program (CSP) identifies and rewards producers who are meeting the highest standards of conservation and environmental management on their operations as they address resource concerns. Applications from producers in select watersheds are evaluated on existing farming practices related to Nutrient and Pest Management, Soil and Water Quality, Grazing and Wildlife Management and Adoption of Best Management Practices. Additional credit (enhancements) are given to producers for participation in:
a) Improvement in a priority local resource condition such as water quality or wildlife.
b) An on-farm conservation research, demonstration or pilot project.
c) A cooperative effort with other producers to implement watershed or regional resource conservation plans that involve at least 75% of the producers in a targeted area.
Applications are evaluated and compared to minimum requirements for eligibility for placement in Tier I, II, or III. Tier placement determines per acre payment, maximum payment limitations ($20,000- $45,000) and length of contract (5 10 Years) with Tier III having the largest payments/ payment limitations and the longest contracts.
Historically, ISU Extension (ISUE) has promoted farming systems and Best Management Practices (BMPs) that are recognized by the CSP. Examples where ISUE has organized, implemented and / or cooperated with other agencies would include: The Bigalk Creek Water Quality Project and the Bigalk to Bohemia Water Quality Projects in Howard County; the NE Demo Project; the Integrated Farm/ Livestock Management Project; the Iowa Learning Farms Project; the Hub and Spoke Demonstration Project, and activities of the NE Iowa Ag Experimental Association and the Howard County Experimental Farm. Other practices promoted by ISUE and recognized by CSP would include: Integrated Crop Management (ICM) and crop scouting workshops, grazing/ pasture walks, and manure/ nutrient management planning. NE Iowa has unique geology and topographical features which raise a number of environmental concerns. These concerns have been high-priority issues addressed by ISUE. The Upper Wapsipinicon and Turkey River Watersheds are high priority watersheds selected in the second round for CSP participation.
Producers who have worked with and adopted practices recommended by ISUE exceeded minimum standards for the higher Tiers of CSP. Producers who have been a part of an Extension project earned additional credits (enhancements) and qualify for higher payments and longer contracts. One long-time Extension cooperator shared that he qualified for Tier III and the annual payment limitation ($45,000) for ten years. He credits his CSP success to the assistance and encouragement provided by his association with ISU over the years. Others who qualified for CSP payments also recognize the role that ISUE has played in their success.
November 16, 2005
142 -- Sustainable Agriculture
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July 9, 2006
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