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    Conservation News

    Welcome to Conservation News, the District's news journal. Our goal is to highlight the latest news from USDA, K-LSWCD, as well as other farm, food, and conservation news.

    Subscribe to articles via RSS Feed using the link in the sidebar.

    Feel free to add your comments -- and don't forget to sign up for our e-newsletter or visit us on Facebook for more farm and food news, videos, events, and announcements.

    Caveat: We do not necessarily endorse the following programs, events, or organizations. We leave it to you to decide if the articles and links are useful.

    ____________________________________________________________________________

    Friday
    Jul252014

    Land Conservation Strengthens Rural Communities: Examples of the Land and Water Conservation Fund at Work

    A canoe on the shoreline of Pond of Safety in the Randolph Community Forest in Randolph, NH. White Mountains National Forest, Ammonoosuc River watershed. Photo: Jerry and Marcy Monkman/EcoPhotography.com. Used with permission

    A canoe on the shoreline of Pond of Safety in the Randolph Community Forest in Randolph, NH. White Mountains National Forest, Ammonoosuc River watershed. Photo: Jerry and Marcy Monkman/EcoPhotography.com. Used with permission - See more at: http://blogs.usda.gov/2014/07/24/land-conservation-strengthens-rural-communities-examples-of-the-land-and-water-conservation-fund-at-work/#sthash.vpo49ptp.dpuf

    Pond of Safety, Randolph Community Forest, White Mts Natl Forest, NH. Photo: Jerry & Marcy Monkman

    A canoe on the shoreline of Pond of Safety in the Randolph Community Forest in Randolph, NH. White Mountains National Forest, Ammonoosuc River watershed. Photo: Jerry and Marcy Monkman/EcoPhotography.com. Used with permission - See more at: http://blogs.usda.gov/2014/07/24/land-conservation-strengthens-rural-communities-examples-of-the-land-and-water-conservation-fund-at-work/#sthash.vpo49ptp.dpuf
    A canoe on the shoreline of Pond of Safety in the Randolph Community Forest in Randolph, NH. White Mountains National Forest, Ammonoosuc River watershed. Photo: Jerry and Marcy Monkman/EcoPhotography.com. Used with permission - See more at: http://blogs.usda.gov/2014/07/24/land-conservation-strengthens-rural-communities-examples-of-the-land-and-water-conservation-fund-at-work/#sthash.vpo49ptp.dpuf
    Posted by Leslie Jones, Senior Advisor, Natural Resources and Environment - See more at: http://blogs.usda.gov/2014/07/24/land-conservation-strengthens-rural-communities-examples-of-the-land-and-water-conservation-fund-at-work/#sthash.8NApeeyC.dpuf

    The Forest Service’s Land and Water Conservation Fund investment in national forests and grasslands has ripple effects that extend far beyond the Forest Service and the land that is protected.

    The Land and Water Conservation Fund, created by Congress in 1964, provides resources to federal, state and local governments for the conservation of important lands, waters and historical sites.  Using no taxpayer dollars the Fund uses earnings from offshore oil and gas leasing to help preserve our history, protect our lands and strengthen our economy. Nationwide, over 7 million acres have been protected.

    Click to read more ...

    Thursday
    Jul102014

    Maine Agriculture is “Up” in More Ways than One

    Posted in USDA Blog by Gary Keough, New England Field Office State Statistician, National Agricultural Statistics Service

    Maine's agriculture and farm-related demographics are growing and diversifying each year. Check back next Thursday to learn more about the 2012 Census of Agriculture results as we highlight another state.

    When examining the status of Maine’s agriculture using statistics derived from the 2012 Census of Agriculture, the words “up” and “increase” appear quite often. Our state’s agriculture and farm-related demographics are growing and diversifying each year.

    Both the number of farms and land in farms in Maine increased since the last Census of Agriculture in 2007. In fact, we have the most farms of the New England states, and the land in farms is up eight percent from 2007.

    Click to read more ...

    Thursday
    Jul032014

    AMA application deadline for 2015 funding: Aug 15, 2014

    For more information, contact your local USDA Service Center:

    Knox: Autumn Birt, District Conservationist, Knox & Waldo  autumn.birt@me.usda.gov; 207-338-1964 x3
    Lincoln:
    Peter Abello, District Conservationist, Lincoln & Kennebec  peter.abello@me.usda.gov; 207-622-7847 x3

    Thursday
    Jul032014

    USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) Announces Online Hay and Grazing Acres Locator Tool

    For many years, FSA's Hay Net website www.fsa.usda.gov/haynet  has been the "go to" online resource for agricultural producers to list information concerning the need for hay or the availability of hay.

    Now, in response to requests from livestock producers and landowners, FSA has expanded the site to include the option to list a need for grazing acres or to list acres available for grazing.

    Click to read more ...

    Wednesday
    Jul022014

    Woods Wise Wire: Jul 1, 2014

    In this issue:

    • Presque Isle and Moose River adopt statewide standards for timber harvest in shoreland areas
    • Forestry Rules of Maine booklet available
    • Skidder bridge workshop in Ashland Jul 18
    • 2013 Maine Forestry Water Quality Best Management Practices Report available on MFS website
    • Widespread white pine needle loss symptoms. MFS Info Sheet#24: Insect and Disease Pests of White Pine

    Click here for full text

    Monday
    Jun302014

    First Participants in Conservation Stewardship Program Can Renew for Five More Years

    Bangor, ME, June 27, 2014 – Producers with expiring U.S. Department of Agriculture Conservation Stewardship (CSP) contracts have from July 11 until September 12, 2014 to submit an application to renew their expiring CSP contracts.

    CSP is offered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and is the Farm Bill program that helps farmers take conservation investments to the next level

    Click to read more ...

    Saturday
    Jun282014

    Habitat Conservation Mowing

    by Laura Suomi-Lecker, Technical Director
    Somerset County Soil and Water Conservation District
    www.somersetswcd.org 

    In recent decades, grassland birds, including species such as Bobolinks, Eastern Meadowlarks, and Savannah Sparrows, are showing the steepest population declines of any group of birds in the Northeast and all of North America, making them a continental conservation priority. As grassland has been developed, overgrown, or replanted to alfalfa, habitat loss is thought to be one of the major contributing factors to their decline.

    Click to read more ...

    Wednesday
    Jun252014

    USDA announces support for beginning farmers

    USDA has unveiled www.usda.gov/newfarmers, a one-stop shop for new and beginning farmers entering agriculture. It’s a practical, workable tool that will help farmers and ranchers of tomorrow tap into the range of USDA resources today. It features direct links to USDA programs and services, as well as case studies about how USDA support is being put to work to for America’s agriculture future

    Click to read more ...

    Monday
    Jun162014

    Community Conservation Series: Native plants can help create a pollinator-friendly landscape

    We often enjoy aesthetic benefits of native grasses, shrubs, trees and their flowers. Not only do they add charm and character to land, they also provide important habitat for wildlife, including pollinators and beneficial insects.

    Click to read more ...

    Thursday
    Jun052014

    NRCS Announces Deadline for Conservation Programs

    he USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced the application deadline dates for two of its conservation programs—the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and the Agricultural Management Assistance Program.  The Fiscal Year 2015 application deadline for both of these programs is August 15, 2014.

    Agricultural producers and foresters are encouraged to sign up now for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), which provides financial and technical assistance to address varying natural resource priorities. The Fiscal Year 2015 funding consideration application deadline for most EQIP fund pool categories will be August 15, 2014.  This does not include the EQIP National Water Quality Initiative and Conservation Innovation Grants.  These deadlines are yet to be determined.

    Click to read more ...

    Thursday
    Jun052014

    USDA, Partners Usher in a New Era in Conservation

    New conservation initiative goes beyond traditional government efforts

    Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced the launch of what he calls “a new era in American conservation efforts” with an historic focus on public-private partnership.

    “This is an entirely new approach to conservation,” Vilsack said. “We’re giving private companies, local communities and other non-government partners a way to invest in what are essentially clean water start-up operations.”

    The new conservation program, called the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), was authorized in the 2014 Farm Bill and will benefit areas all across the nation.  RCPP streamlines conservation efforts by combining four programs (the Agricultural Water Enhancement Program, Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative, the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Initiative, and the Great Lakes Basin Program for Soil Erosion) into one.

    Click to read more ...

    Monday
    May192014

    Maine NRCS Conservation News - May 2014

    Inside This Issue

    • A Note from the State Conservationist
    • 2014 Farm Bill  
    • Your Guide to the new Farm Bill Program Application Deadline for FY15 
    • Personnel 
    • Soil Health  
    • Getting Started with NRCS 
    • Stream Smart Road Crossing Training 
    • Bee Facts and Tidbits
    • 2012 Census of Ag Released 
    • 2013 Digital Photo Contest 1st Place 

    To read newsletter: Maine NRCS Conservation News - May 2014

    Monday
    May122014

    Community Conservation Series: Managing nutrients leads to better yields, cleaner water

    Nutrients can help or harm, either leading to bountiful harvests or contributing to water quality issues. How we manage nutrients affects how much is taken up by plants and how much is lost from our farm fields.

    Nutrients come from many sources in rural, suburban and urban America. Farmers and ranchers play an important role in finding solutions to prevent nutrients from making their way into our streams, rivers and other water bodies, including Lake Megunticook, Chickawaukee, Damariscotta and Pemaquid Lakes, to name a few.

    Click to read more ...

    Friday
    Apr182014

    Community Conservation Series: Field borders allow farms to filter, clean water & provide homes for wildlife

    Sometimes in a quest for bigger harvests, producers put every inch of land to work. But more land for crops or pastures doesn’t always lead to bigger yields.

    It’s best to use land for its greatest purpose, enabling more than a traditional yield. In addition to the harvest, the farm or ranch provides habitat for wildlife and benefits our soil, water and air. Producers in Maine and across the United States use a number of conservation actions, or practices, to best use working lands. One common way producers do this through conservation is field borders.

    Click to read more ...

    Friday
    Apr042014

    Community Conservation Series: Save big by planting trees on your home, farm

    Did you know the cooling effect of a young, healthy tree is the same as having 10 air conditioners operating 20 hours every day?

    In addition to their cooling power, trees provide other benefits – no matter if you live in the city or in the country. Trees growing along the banks of rivers and streams keep the soil and nutrients on your land and ensure the water running off is cleaner downstream. These same trees also help prevent floods by slowing down water during periods of heavy rain. As the water slows, it helps recharge underground aquifers that supply fresh water for drinking wells and irrigation.

    Click to read more ...

    Tuesday
    Mar252014

    USDA Encourages Early Registration for FSA Programs

    he U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Juan M. Garcia today recommended that farmers and ranchers who plan to participate in FSA programs register in advance. Producers are encouraged to report farm records and business structure changes to their local FSA Service Center before April 15, 2014.
    Enrollment for the disaster programs authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill, including the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) and the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) will begin by April 15, 2014.

    Click to read more ...

    Tuesday
    Mar252014

    FSA APRIL Newsletter: Kennebec-Knox-Lincoln

    Contents:

    • LIVESTOCK DISASTER ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS
    • AVERAGE ADJUSTED GROSS INCOME COMPLIANCE REVIEW
    • MICROLOAN PROGRAM
    • NONINSURED CROP DISASTER ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (NAP)
    • EVALUATIONS ALLOWED FOR LOANS OF $250,000 OR LESS

    Click to read more ...

    Monday
    Mar172014

    IFW Ice Fishing Report for March 15, 2014

    Region B – Central and Midcoast Area

    This time of year is a great time to target bass under the ice.
    “Messalonskee Lake has good numbers of smallmouth bass,” says IFW fisheries biologist Jason Seiders, “There are good numbers of fish, you need to find that rocky habitat that is 20-30 feet deep and you should have success.”
    Last week, a group fishing Messalonskee caught a number of smallmouth bass, averaging about 16” in length, with some up to 19”.
    “They were in great condition as well, feeding heavily on baitfish. They were very fat,” said Seiders, who added that many anglers are still landing splake on Messalonskee as well.
    Anglers are still catching lake trout on Maranacook, as well as smelts.
    “We saw a 15 pound togue caught on Maranacook last week, and they seem to be averaging in the 5-6 pound range,” said Seiders.
    Smelt fishing continues to be good, as anglers are getting them in deeper water using small tackle. Smelts are in the 5-6 inch range.
    “They are catching them throughout the south basin, at depths of around 40 feet. There are good numbers of fish, but it can be tricky,” said Seiders who added that many jigging for smelts will also get an occasional white perch.

    Click to read more ...

    Tuesday
    Mar112014

    Woodland salamanders - "canaries in the forest"

    http://blogs.usda.gov/2014/03/11/woodland-salamanders-prove-to-be-the-new-canary-in-the-forest/

    The Ensatina salamander (Ensatina eschscholtzii) is a good indicator of forest ecosystem health. (U.S. Forest Service/Hartwell Welsh)

    The Ensatina salamander (Ensatina eschscholtzii; above) is a good indicator of forest ecosystem health. (U.S. Forest Service/Hartwell Welsh)

    With the Year of the Salamander now in full swing, there’s no wonder why everyone seems to be talking about these little creatures… they are the new canary in the coal mine when it comes to understanding forest health.

    Click to read more ...

    Monday
    Mar032014

    IFW Ice Fishing Report for March 1, 2014

    Compiled By Mark Latti with IFW Fisheries Biologists

    Click to read more ...