FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 1, 2010
For More Information Contact:
Paige Buck, State Public Affairs Specialist, (217) 353.6606
Window of Opportunity…For Farmers
Champaign, IL—The seasonal “window of opportunity” to install new
conservation practices on the farm can be small, making scheduling decisions
tough for producers and contractors. Luckily, payments from the Natural
Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) can cover the lost income from acres under
construction of some time-sensitive practices. “You don’t have to fight the
clock or the calendar to get the practices you need on the ground. NRCS payments
cover that—and a whole lot more,” explains Bill Gradle, NRCS State
Conservationist for Illinois.
When producers apply and are accepted for technical and financial assistance
with NRCS conservation programs, they develop a plan and sign a contract.
Ultimately, they receive a payment which assists with expenses associated with
getting conservation solutions on the ground. According to Gradle, “Conservation
program payments pay for obvious items—the earth-moving work and supplies and
materials. But they also cover unseen costs that every producer needs covered,
such as costs for taking cropland out of production long enough to establish
those conservation practices.”
Termed “foregone income,” NRCS conservation payments include a way to compensate
landowners for yields and profits lost when producers build a new grassed
waterway. Gradle explains, “Some lost income is a one-time event; some occur
every year. For example, if your conservation plan includes a grassed waterway
or two, that scenario includes one year of foregone income for twice the size or
the acreage of that waterway. That’s what the foregone income payment covers.”
Executive Director for Illinois Land Improvement Contractors Association (ILICA)
Janet Burtle-Doubet has local contractors with multiple clients who need to get
a number of conservation construction jobs done in a hurry. “But we can’t get to
all these projects in just a few weeks. That’s why NRCS’ payments are designed
to cover that lost income on the few acres taken out of production while we
install waterways.” Waterways are particularly challenging because the grass
seeding must be established—and growing—at the same time crops are growing. This
is precisely the issue USDA’s “foregone income” solves.
“Remember, if you have practices in your plan that you need to get on the
ground, give NRCS a call and let’s set it up. If you and your contractor can’t
get it in before planting this year or immediately after harvest, don’t worry.
Your conservation payment will cover your costs fair and square,” Gradle adds.
For more information on NRCS conservation programs for your farm, contact your
local NRCS office or visit www.il.nrcs.usda.gov.
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