Schuylkill Conservation District’s Agricultural Conservation Program provides technical and financial assistance for farmers and other land users to implement best management practices (BMPs) to reduce non-point source pollution to local streams within Schuylkill County.
The District works closely with the local office of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to provide help to farmers in developing conservation plans to manage their natural resources in ways that are both productive and environmentally beneficial. In the planning process, staff work one-on-one with landowners/managers to identify and solve conservation problems in ways that balance their economic goals with the needs of the natural environment.
The District can also assist farmers with obtaining agricultural erosion & sediment control, manure management, and nutrient management plans. These plans help guide farmers in conserving soil and utilizing nutrients from manure and fertilizers for more efficient crop production, while aiming to keep those potential pollutants out of streams and other water bodies.
- AGRICULTURAL EROSION & SEDIMENT CONTROL PLAN: All farms are required to develop and implement a written plan to reduce erosion when plowing and tilling (includes no-till cropping). The written plan must address animal heavy use areas. A conservation plan may meet these requirements.
- MANURE MANAGEMENT PLAN: This plan is for all operations that either generate or land apply manure. This includes ALL operations, regardless of number(s) of livestock. PA DEP’s manure management manual includes a plan that you can complete for your operation.
- NUTRIENT MANAGEMENT PLAN: An Act 38 nutrient management plan is required for operations considered to be a Concentrated Animal Operation (CAO) or a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO). For more information, please contact Amy Zerbe at the PA Department of Agriculture at 215-287-9704.
Once the plan is developed, the District helps landowners/managers identify financial resources to implement best management practices through programs like the federal Farm Bill and the PA Department of Environmental Protection’s Growing Greener Program.
Besides constructed BMPs, the District encourages farmers to use environmentally friendly practices like planting cover crops, using no-till planting techniques, soil testing, and nutrient management.
The District can also assist farmers with applications to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s Resource Enhancement and Protection Program, a program that grants tax credits in exchange for the implementation of certain best management practices.