Issuu on Google+

NRCS Missouri

2013 ANNUAL REPORT

IN FISCAL YEAR 2013... It was nearly one year ago that NRCS

way in soil health, but in numerous NRCS

kicked off its soil health campaign,

programs and initiatives. In FY13 we

promoting the benefits of cover crops

obligated $31.7 million in Environmental

and no till and spreading the word about

Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) funds

healthy, productive soil.

In the time

and restored more than 7,000 acres of

that has passed, our State Soil Health

Wetlands Reserve Program easements.

Conservationist has logged hundreds

Throughout the year I’ve spoken to

of miles traveling to the far corners

numerous groups about the benefits

of Missouri to inform landowners of

our agency has provided through our

changes they can implement to improve

programs.

the health of their land. These efforts,

I am in awe, but not surprised, by

combined with the efforts of other NRCS

the good work that NRCS Missouri

employees, have made Missouri a leader

employees have performed this year.

in soil health.

With a staff of nearly 400 employees, and

Missouri NRCS doesn’t just lead the 1

more than 2,000 Earth Team Volunteers,

Missouri NRCS Leadership State Conservationist J.R. Flores Assistant State Conservationist for Programs Katura Wright Assistant State Conservationist for Operations Joe Steuber Assistant State Conservationist for Water Resources Harold Deckerd State Administrative Officer Louis Hendricks State Conservation Engineer Dick Purcell State Resource Conservationist Dwaine Gelnar

.

State Soil Scientist Jorge Lugo-Camacho

we were able to accomplish great things in FY13. Conservation is our priority and not a job that we take lightly. NRCS Missouri benefits from its valuable partnerships with the local, state and federal agencies and departments. Our staff knows the importance of protecting the land for

Public Affairs Officer Charlie Rahm Area Conservationist (1) Pat Hufford Area Conservationist (2) Karen Brinkman Area Conservationist (3) Stan Mick Area Conservationist (4) Mike Squires

future generations. With a new Farm Bill to work with, I look forward to seeing what we’re able to accomplish in the years ahead. Sincerely

J.R. Flores State Conservationist

2

CONSERVATION RESERVE PROGRAM (CRP)

The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is a voluntary program that assists farmers, ranchers and other agricultural producers to use their environmentally-sensitive land for conservation benefits. Producers enrolling in CRP establish long-term, resource-conserving cover types in exchange for rental payments, costshare and technical assistance. A nationwide competitive enrollment period began in May 2013. While the program is administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA), Missouri NRCS staff provided technical assistance to landowners on 2,048 offers and developed conservation plans for the 1,961 offers that were accepted for enrollment. These accepted offers covered approximately 80,300 acres. During FY13, NRCS staff also developed 118 emergency grazing plans and 608 emergency haying plans for CRP contract participants. CRP is also offered to landowners on a continuous basis with the Highly Erodible Land Initiative. During FY13, NRCS staff developed conservation plans for 528 new CRP contracts qualifying for this CRP initiative.

3

1,961: NRCS Conservation plans developed for CRP offers

CONSERVATION STEWARDSHIP PROGRAM (CSP)

The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) encourages agricultural and forestry producers to undertake additional conservation activities while improving and maintaining the existing conservation on their land. The program provides financial and technical assistance to conserve and enhance soil, water, air and related natural resources. CSP is offered statewide through a continuous sign-up process with periodic ranking periods to evaluate all submitted applications. 421 contracts were developed, enrolling 161,442 acres of agricultural land and 8,759 acres of non-industrial private forest land. The contracts will provide nearly $2.7 million in financial assistance to participants over the five-year contract agreements.

EMERGENCY WATERSHED PROTECTION (EWP)

Mississippi River flooding in April and May of 2011 caused significant damage to drainage systems in the Bootheel and bank stabilization problems in southwest Missouri. NRCS Missouri obligated $30.8 million to assist with repairs. Agreements with sponsors to repair the damage were completed within 90 days of receipt of funding and all 105 projects were completed by November 29.

CONSERVATION TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE (CTA)

NRCS and its partners provide Conservation Technical Assistance (CTA) to land users to identify resource concerns and opportunities related to the use of natural resources on their land. This information assists land users in making sound natural resource management decisions. Assistance may be in the form of resource assessment, practice design, resource monitoring or follow-up of installed conservation practices. Although CTA does not include financial assistance, it does include developing a conservation plan which can serve as a springboard for those interested in participating in USDA financial assistance and easement conservation programs.

Flooding on the Missouri River occurred from June through October of 2011. Through FY13 NRCS Missouri has obligated $1.4 million for repairs. Fifteen DSRs were developed and nine agreements with sponsors were completed within 120 days of receipt of funding. Repairs were completed on nine projects including three levee repairs and six drainage ditch cleanouts. The remaining projects were either ineligible or assisted by Federal Emergency Management Agency. Heavy flooding in southwestern Missouri occurred in August 2013, applications for assistance have been received from four sponsors.

$32.2 million: Repair cost from 2011 flooding in Missouri

4

ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY INCENTIVES PROGRAM (EQIP) The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) promotes agricultural production and environmental quality as compatible goals. It provides financial and technical assistance to install or implement structural and management conservation practices on agricultural land.

with nearly 160 producers who will be using $1 million in FY13 EQIP financial assistance under the High Tunnel Initiative to extend the crop growing season, improve plant quality, improve soil quality and improve water quality from reduced nutrient and pesticide transport.

Missouri farmers received a total of $31.7 million in EQIP financial assistance in Fiscal Year 2013, funding 1,464 of the nearly 5,200 eligible applications received in Missouri. This financial assistance will help install conservation practices to reduce soil erosion, use water more efficiently and improve grazing land, wildlife habitat and water quality.

The On-Farm Energy Initiatve, created in 2011, enables producers to identify ways to conserve energy on the farm through two types of Agricultural Energy Management Plans (AgEMP). It also provides financial and technical assistance to help producers implement various measures and practices recommended in these onfarm energy audits. In FY13, Missouri funded 46 contracts for $118,496 accounting for 30,797 acres.

In Fiscal Year 2013, Missouri continued to see interest from agricultural producers in the Organic Initiative, first offered in Fiscal Year 2009, allowing Missouri NRCS to obligate $122,693 in EQIP financial assistance to all eligible applicants in the initiative. These Organic Initiative funds will be used by 13 contract holders for conservation practices on USDA-Certified organic operations and also assist other producers to transition to organic production. Seasonal High Tunnel Systems, which were introduced as a new component in 2010, continued in 2013 to promote locally grown food for personal or commercial use. Missouri worked 5

$31.7 million: EQIP financial assistance received by Missouri farmers

GRASSLAND RESERVE PROGRAM (GRP)

The GRP offers landowners an opportunity to protect grassland and pastureland rather than converting it to cropland or other uses. To date, 35 easements have been funded statewide encompassing 4,020 acres. In 2013, no funds were received for new easements.

RESOURCE INVENTORIES: SOIL SURVEY, NRI AND CULTURAL RESOURCES

Resource Inventory and Assessment (RIA) progress featured Major Land Resource Area (MLRA) offices updating the tabular and spatial data of 5.7 million acres. The information was added to the Web Soil Survey. Most soil survey update efforts focused on the Soil Data Join Recorrelation Project, which provides a recorrelated map for the MLRA. This approach minimizes the influence of political boundaries. Summaries of air temperature, precipitation, soil temperature and soil moisture data for six Missouri Soil Climate Analysis Network stations were added to the NRCS Field Office Technical Guide. The RIA staff provided 4,552 Technical Soil Services, and served 37,989 people.

96.9 million: Acres NRCS’ RIA assisted with

National Resources Inventory (NRI) efforts focused on data collection on 1,796 segments covering the 2011 and 2012 growing seasons. Missouri’s Cultural Resources efforts included checking 496 projects with ground-disturbing practices to make sure they met cultural resources compliance. Fifteen instances warranted further investigation. Missouri NRCS uses a Cultural Resources information sheet that it developed to use during the conservation planning process with landowners. NRCS completed 292 Ecological Site Description (ESD) write ups, and completed the tabular and spatial ESD data of 41,499 acres. An ESD contains information and data pertaining to a specific site. ESDs allow land managers to identify, map and describe land with similar physical and biological characteristics. This helps them devise plans to manage the natural resources on their properties.

7

WETLANDS RESERVE PROGRAM (WRP)

2013 general WRP enrollment was 1,818 acres. WRP helps landowners restore wetlands on agricultural and non-agricultural lands. Restored wetlands provide wildlife habitat for migratory birds, threatened and endangered species, and other wetland wildlife. To date, 1,060 easements have been funded statewide encompassing 146,593 acres. In 2013, restoration was completed on 40 easements covering 7,626 acres.

WILDLIFE HABITAT INCENTIVES PROGRAM (WHIP)

The Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) promoted the establishment and management of fish and wildlife habitat. It provided financial and technical assistance on private agricultural land, nonindustrial private forestland and Indian land to assist eligible participants develop habitat. Eligible Missouri applicants received $533,556 in WHIP financial assistance in Fiscal Year 2013, funding 63 of the 81 eligible WHIP applications. WHIP financial assistance helps producers install conservation practices that establish, improve, protect, enhance, or restore the land to improve conditions for fish and wildlife. 7

MISSISSIPPI RIVER BASIN HEALTHY WATERSHEDS INITIATIVE (MRBI)

The objective of MRBI is to improve the health of the Mississippi River Basin, including water quality and wildlife habitat. Through this initiative, NRCS and its partners help producers in selected watersheds in the Mississippi River Basin voluntarily implement conservation practices and systems that avoid, control, and trap nutrient runoff; improve wildlife habitat; and maintain agricultural productivity. Furthermore, the initiative is intended to address nutrient loading in the Mississippi River Basin. Nutrient loading contributes to both local water quality problems and the hypoxic zone in the Gulf of Mexico. Missouri NRCS (working with Soil and Water Conservation District sponsors) entered into 290 additional Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) contracts totaling $9.7 million in obligations. These new contracts, encompassing 31,824 acres of agricultural land, will help to address water quality within the Mississippi River Basin and are located in 22 project areas.

31,824: Acres of Missouri agricultural land in MRBI

820: Landowners assisted by NRCS Grassland Specialists GRAZING LANDS CONSERVATION INITIATIVE (GLCI)

The Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative (GLCI) is a nationwide collaborative process of individuals and organizations working to maintain and improve the management, productivity and health of the nation’s privately owned grazing land. This process has formed coalitions that represent the grassroot concerns that impact private grazing land. The coalitions actively seek sources to increase technical assistance and public awareness activities that maintain or enhance grazing land resources. NRCS grassland specialists and staff assisted 820 landowners and partner organizations with 29 grazing schools held throughout Missouri. The schools provide landowners and interested individuals with an understanding of various grazing, forage utilization and fencing systems options to improve the management of all grassland resources in Missouri. NRCS grassland conservationists and staff also assisted with four regional forage conferences, with 20 field days/ workshops, and with eight grassland evaluation contests.

COOPERATIVE CONSERVATION PARTNERSHIP INITIATIVE (CCPI)

The Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative (CCPI) was established in the 2008 Farm Bill. Each year, CCPI projects receive a targeted portion of the funds that NRCS has available through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) and the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). Missouri NRCS, which administers CCPI, partnered with 11 Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCD) and the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) to address natural resource concerns. These formal agreements between NRCS, sponsoring SWCDs and MDC, provide $1.1 million in NRCS financial assistance through EQIP and WHIP contracts. The funding assists in protecting water quality, reducing soil loss and improving habitat throughout Missouri.

8

CONSERVATION INNOVATION GRANT (CIG) AWARD SUMMARY One Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) was awarded by Missouri NRCS in Fiscal Year 2013.

A $28,557 CIG award to Lincoln University will help in the development, testing and reporting of optimal species mixes, seeding rates, and seeding methods to enhance cover crop establishment/ survival and increase soil organic matter. Funding will be used to construct a machine that can be used to sow cover crop seed into standing crops, primarily corn, to encourage producers to adopt cover cropping practices and demonstrate how a high clearance seeder can be modified to sow cover crops. The secondary purpose of the project is to look at different types of seeders that can be used to sow cover crops with a modified high clearance sprayer.

9

$28,557: CIG Money Awarded to Lincoln University

GRANT ANNOUNCEMENT FOR WORKSHOPS, CONFERENCES AND TRAINING SUMMARY

A grant announcement was issued with the expressed interest to partner and support the efforts of natural resource conservation partners and to promote public awareness and implementation of Farm Bill activities. See list of five Opportunity Titles below. Ten grants were awarded totaling $313,406. 1. Develop and demonstrate management actions that abate the harmful effects of invasive species on native biological communities; monitor the occurrence and distribution of invasive species in Missouri and develop geographic strategies for control; and demonstrate resource benefits realized from control of invasive species.

EARTH TEAM VOLUNTEER PROGRAM

The Earth Team Volunteer Program is part of the NRCS, the Federal Government’s lead agency for voluntary conservation of natural resources on private lands. Earth Team volunteers play an important role in helping NRCS fulfill its commitment to working with people to protect, maintain, and conserve our nation’s natural resources and environment.

2. Promote public awareness of

NRCS programs and further the development of NRCS relations with its Conservation Partners and participants. 3. Promote learning opportunities for Missouri agricultural producers who are following soil health improvement strategies. 4. Promote adoption of intensive water management and improvement of water quality through sponsored workshops. 5. Promote effective management of private grazing lands

2,271 Missouri Earth Team volunteers provided 19,085 hours of service valued at $422,552. Missouri attained two statewide goals: (1) 100 percent office participation in the Earth Team Program (2) 100 percent of offices conducted Needs Assessments to identify tasks volunteers could do.

2,271: Number of Earth Team Volunteers in Missouri

10

United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service

April 2014 USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer


NRCS Missouri Annual Report