2014-11-25 / Front Page

Northern Owen Farmers Set To Benefit From SWCD Grant

by Michael Stanley
Staff Writer

Farmers in Owen County’s northern townships may benefit from the local portion of a recent award of a $75,000 Clean Water Indiana Grant.

Split between Hendricks, Putnam, Morgan and Owen counties, the local Soil & Water Conservation District will receive $5,625 for the next three years to assist farmers with property along the Mill Creek Watershed, which drains into Lake Cataract.

“Everything that drains into Cataract Lake, it’s about the top third of the county. It’s to help farmers with complete conservation cropping systems, so this can include equipment modifications and also some additional planning,” Owen SWCD Executive Director Kelsey Thetonia said. “So if they are interested in cover crops, equipment modifications and no-till conversion economic savings analysis, assistance would be available to those northern townships, because of the watershed boundary.”

Thetonia said the costshare program provides $20 per acre for cover crops.

“Depending on how they are applied, that usually costs upwards of $40 to $50 per acre, so it does pay for almost half of it. There will be a maximum payment of 75 percent of the cost for equipment modifications and we are looking to incentivize producers for the economic savings analysis for no-till conversion. Each producer will receive a $250 incentive for completing the analysis.“

The Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) and the State Soil Conservation Board (SSCB) recently awarded $1,020,900 in Clean Water Indiana (CWI) Grants to 35 Indiana Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) across the state. The goals of the projects are to seek ways to protect drinking water, improve water quality and assist Hoosiers in gaining knowledge and awareness about the impacts of land use on precious water resources.

“Our land and water are our state’s most precious natural resources and conserving what we have is critical to our Hoosier environment and economy,” ISDA Director Ted McKinney said. “We are committed to working with our partners to develop more conservation practices and get the necessary funding into the hands of Indiana landowners as quickly as we can.”

The CWI Grants Program provides financial assistance to SWCDs to implement conservation practices to reduce non-point sources of water pollution through education, technical assistance, training and cost-sharing programs.

Statewide, this round of CWI Grant recipient projects bring together local organizations, governments and communities, as well as state and federal agencies, to showcase what Hoosier conservationists can do when given the resources to make a difference. Proposals were concentrated on unique partnerships; regional technical assistance; centralized office coordination of state, federal and local agencies; and marketing conservation programs to landowners.

SWCDs were encouraged to work together across county lines and to leverage local, state and federal resources to put more conservation on the land and bring more funds home to Hoosier landowners. Funded projects demonstrated cooperative conservation by connecting their local business plans to the statewide Indiana Conservation Partnership (ICP) Strategic Plan.

Technical help to implement the grants will come from district staff, the Indiana State Department of Agriculture’s Division of Soil Conservation (ISDADSC), the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS) and many local businesses and conservation groups. Additionally, the grants will help several SWCDs and local land users accelerate the implementation of federal and state conservation programs in their areas.

For additional information locally or to see if you may be eligible, contact Thetonia at the office, located at 743 East Franklin Street Spencer, or by phone at 812-829-2605. The office is open Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.

Return to top

Click here for digital edition
2014-11-25 digital edition