Conservation District’s Field Perspective – Getting Results C. Strohmaier

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Conservation District’s Field Perspective – Getting Results C. Strohmaier

  1. 1.  Farmers viewing environmental improvements as advantageous for their business  District’s better understanding of the economics of agriculture › What matters to the farmer?  Labor  Energy  Food Price  Raw Material Costs  Food Safety  Weather     Conservation/Environment
  2. 2.  Educating Farmers › Minimal attendance or same attendees at Annual Meetings › Difficulty differentiating agencies’ personnel  Funding/Grants › Districts receive limited dedicated funds  Need $ for BMPs  Long-Term/Consistent Funding for Staff  Spending time on grant applications and then money is not awarded › Without an economic benefit to farmer, grant money will be needed. Few people spend a significant amount of money on the environment for altruistic reasons
  3. 3.  Obtaining Permits to construct BMPs › General Permits (GP) from PA DEP  EV & HQ Watershed require Joint/Individual Permits  New Fee Schedule › Frustrating because BMPs are for environmental improvements  Township Relationships › Zoning Ordinances inhibiting BMP installation  Communication w/ Contractors › Choosing the correct time to install BMPs
  4. 4.  Long-Term Maintenance of BMPs › Farmers need to take ownership of practices › Importance of ‘Cost-Share’ Funding  Establishing Relationships and Clear Presence in the Community › Takes time and need an experienced staff › Traditionally high turnover rates at the Districts › Complexity of dealing with Amish community  Changing Laws/Regulations  Enforcement › Level 2 District
  5. 5.  Successful Grant Applications › Has allowed for significant conservation to be accomplished  i.e. PennVEST ($6,779,368)  Establishing Relationships › Staying in contact with farmers through frequent communication  Partnerships › PA DEP, NRCS, CBF, Stroud, United Water
  6. 6.  Preserved Farms › Required to have a Conservation Plan and Annual Status Reviews › Avenue for achieving more conservation  Identifying Agriculture as the ‘Solution’ and not the ‘Problem’
  7. 7.  Education › DEP 100 Visits: Face-to-face meetings with landowners/farmers to communicate their regulatory requirements  One-on-one interactions are most effective  Small community outreach  Offer pesticide credits  Funding › Dedicated Ag Staff Grant Specialist  Work in conjunction with the Watershed Specialist  Long-Term Maintenance of BMPs › Increase frequency of Status Reviews › Continuing education on O&M
  8. 8.  Establishing Relationships and Clear Presence in the Community › More competitive salaries and greater incentives in order to prevent turnover  Difficult in County payroll structure  Enforcement through other Avenues › PA Fish and Boat Commission??  ‘Farmer of the Year’ Award from the District
  9. 9. **PowerPoint will be posted on the CCCD website: www.chesco.org/conservation  General Information: › Chris Strohmaier › cstrohmaier@chesco.org › (610) 925-4920 x 111  Mushroom/Ag Information: › Adam Mowery › amowery@chesco.org › (610) 925-4920 x 116

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