Oneida and Vilas Counties? Local Working Group meeting set for July 10
The U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced the schedule for Local Working Group meetings for 2014. Twenty meetings will be held across Wisconsin this summer to gather input and help make recommendations and set priorities for USDA conservation programs under the new Farm Bill.
“The Local Working Groups offer a seat at the table for interested individuals and groups to advise NRCS on how best to set priorities and locally implement conservation programs,” said Stinebrink, NRCS DC, Rhinelander. “Members are diverse with an interest and focus on local agriculture and natural resource issues.”
Farmers representing a variety of crops and livestock raised within the local area, private woodland owners, representatives of agricultural and environmental organizations, and representatives of other agriculture and natural resource agencies are usually all represented.
This year, Forest, Florence, Iron, Lincoln, Langlade, Oneida and Vilas Counties are part of the Headwaters Working Group. These counties are connected by geography, similar land use, resources and type of agriculture. Combining into multi-county groups allows for a larger pool of funds for priority practices, and more consistency across county lines with similar resource needs.
The Headwaters meeting will be July 10, at 9 a.m. at the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest Supervisors Office, 500 Hanson Lake Road, Rhinelander. Local Working Group meetings are open to the public. Anyone interested in becoming a member and participating in the Local Working Group should contact Peggy Winter, NRCS District Conservationist for Lincoln and Langlade Countries, [email protected] or Michael Stinebrink NRCS District Conservationist, Florence, Forest, Iron, Oneida and Vilas Countries, [email protected]
The main program discussed at the meetings will be the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), the primary federal conservation program for agricultural and forest lands.
EQIP offers technical and financial assistance to help landowners with needed conservation practices for water quality, soil health, wildlife and other natural resources. In 2014, Wisconsin received $20 million in EQIP funding for conservation practices. The program was re-authorized through 2019 in the federal Farm Bill, which was passed in February, 2014.
For more information, visit the Wisconsin NRCS website under Public Notices at www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/wi/newsroom/pnotice/ or contact a local NRCS District Conservationist if interested in participating.