The 68th annual meeting of the Marion County Conservation District included a conservation progress report by Matt Meyerhoff, supervisory district conserva?tionist for the Natural Resources Conservation District office in Marion.
Meyerhoff said NRCS paid out $566,491 to Marion County in 2013.
?Those dollars went to you and others in Marion County who applied conservation to the land,? he said. ?A little more than $402,000 was for the Conservation Stewardship Program, or CSP.?
According to Meyerhoff, the CSP looks at what farmers are doing now and rewards them for doing even more.
?The rest of the money was through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program,? he said.
The main emphasis of money from EQIP is building terraces and helping ranch land.
?Right now, EQIP, which was a wildlife program, has all its contracts finished,? Meyerhoff said. ?And so in 2014, EQIP has 56 active contracts and received 26 applications for assistance through that program.?
CSP had 19 active contracts and only three applications.
?Anyone who is an operator, we encourage you to come into the office and we will give you that program, which can be applied to nearly any operation,? Meyerhoff said.
The 2014 Farm Bill still has the EQIP and CSP programs and can do wildlife through those, he added.
Meyerhoff said it was important to inform non-participating farmers who haven?t been getting direct payments, which is quite a few in Marion County.
?If they have been getting crop insurance in the past, those farmers were not required to meet high erodible land compliance,? he said. ?With the new Farm Bill, those same farmers will have to meet that.?
Consequently, Meyerhoff said those who have highly erodible land and are doing nothing with the Farm Service Agency, but are buying insurance, are going to have to start doing conservation practices on that land.
?If (a producer) is only doing insurance, they have five years to get those put in,? he said.
Meyerhoff said if anyone knows a producer who is not participating and still getting insurance, he asked that they tell them to stop by the NRCS office.
In the absence of Peggy Blackman, WRAPS coordinator, Meyerhoff discussed the target areas for the program. Those include French Creek, Silver Creek and above the reservoir north and south of the river.
A no-till meeting is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. March 11, and the meal is free. Meyerhoff said the meeting is worthwhile for those who can spare the time.
Meyerhoff also introduced NRCS staff: Doug Svitak and Dale Ehlers, both conservation technicians, and Doug Spencer, range conservationist covering Marion County east to Missouri and south to Oklahoma.
?In addition to those NRCS employees,? he said, ?Lisa Vondenkamp, who is employed by the district, provides nearly 100 percent of her time to help us.?
For more information about NRCS programs, call 620-382-3520.