(Hamilton, NY – Oct. 2012) The United States Department of Agriculture – Natural Resources Conservation Service gives notice that it will hold a Local Work Group meeting for Madison County Oct. 9 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the USDA Service Center, 6503 Wes Road, Hamilton.

These meetings are open to the public.

The Local Work Group will focus on agricultural and natural resource issues existing in the community. Participants can be agricultural producers; owners of non-industrial private forest land; representatives of agricultural and environmental organizations and representatives of governmental agencies carrying out environmental, agricultural or natural resource conservation programs and activities.

NRCS Local Work Groups are subcommittees of the NRCS State Technical Committee, and they provide recommendations on local natural resource priorities and Farm Bill program conservation activities. For information about the State Technical Committee, contact Assistant State Conservationist for Programs Tammy Willis at 315.477.6503.

For information on facilities or services, or to request sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids at the meeting, contact Michael Welshko, District Conservationist at 315.824.9076, at least 10 days prior to the meeting date.

To participate in your local conservation work group, visit your county USDA Service Center. Directions and phone numbers to your local USDA Service Center can be found online at offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app?state=NY.

NRCS Conservation Programs Cutoffs Nearing

(Hamilton) New York farmers and landowners have until Nov. 16 to apply for 2013 conservation program funding. The programs falling within this deadline include the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Initiative, the Agricultural Management Assistance Program and the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program.

Applications are competitive and ranked based on national, state and locally identified resource priorities and their overall benefit to the environment.

Although the 2012 Farm Bill has yet to be approved, proposed legislation indicated that it will contain similar conservation programs to those offered under the 2008 Farm Bill. At this time, applicants may still apply for funding through the same programs offered through the 2008 Farm Bill.

At the time of application, applicants must specify the resource concern(s) that they intend to address. Once further guidance on the 2012 Farm Bill is provided, NRCS will transfer applications to the appropriate conservation program.

* Environmental Quality Incentives Program offers financial assistance for practices which address soil erosion, water quality and habitat degradation. Practices implemented through EQIP include strip cropping, grassed waterways and manure storage facilities. Focus areas within the EQIP program include livestock waste, cropland and grazing.

* Chesapeake Bay Watershed Initiative assists producers to help minimize excess nutrients and sediments in order to restore, preserve and protect the Chesapeake Bay. In New York, the Bay program offers funding and technical assistance to producers in the priority areas of the Upper Susquehanna Watershed.

* Agricultural Management Assistance Program focuses on improving irrigation efficiency through micro-irrigation. A primary goal of the program is to assist agricultural producers in mitigating risk through production diversification.

* Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program helps participants develop fish and wildlife habitat. In New York there are two focus areas: grassland and shrubland.

General information regarding NRCS New York Conservation Programs can be found at ny.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/. If you are interested in applying for a conservation program, visit ny.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/general_information/how_to_apply.html. You may apply by visiting your local NRCS field office, which can be found at offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app?state=NY.

By martha

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