AFT receives over $750,000 from USDA’s CCPI for work on the MRBI

By Melissa Coon

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

Washington, July 9 – AFT has been awarded over $750,000 through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative (CCPI) to support work on USDA's Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative (MRBI) in 2011.

This grant will allow us to direct funds to producers to accelerate the adoption of conservation practices that reduce nutrient runoff while maintaining crop yields,” said AFT Assistant Director Anita Zurbrugg. “We’ll also be looking at the environmental benefits that can be provided when farmers adopt advanced nutrient management practices, including shifting from predominantly fall to spring fertilizer applications and side dressing fertilizers.”

The AFT will be working closely with the Champion County Soil and Water Conservation District (CCSWCD).

The MRBI provides an opportunity for us to focus our efforts on a watershed to work with producers, helping them adopt water quality improving practices on their farms. This effort brings the added dimension of agricultural industry personnel as advisors to enhance the adoption of these conservation practices in the whole Mississippi River Basin,” said CCSWCD Resource Conservationist Bruce Stikkers.

Stikkers added that they would be able to measure the effectiveness of these practices through field monitoring.

Water quality issues and concerns have been around for quite a while. This project will help us highlight some of the practical conservation practices which maintain and improve water quality, but remain practical to the farmers and address their resource concerns,” added USDA/NRCS District Conservationist Kevin Donoho.

Donoho noted the strong federal commitment to conservation of natural resources through the NRCS.

I believe this type of commitment is in the hearts and minds of all private landowners, farmers and those who make natural resource conservation decisions,” he said. “With the support and commitment of the USDA agencies, partners and related groups, the dreams of those people who live and work with the land can be realized through projects like this.”

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