The 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 Luzerne County, most of which are in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.
Planning for Conservation
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 also assists farmers with obtaining manure management and nutrient management plans. These plans help guide farmers in 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.
Putting Conservation on the Ground
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. Some practices also require formal design and engineering, which is often completed by staff members from our state association and/or NRCS.
Besides constructed BMPs, the district also encourages farmers to use environmentally friendly practices like:
- planting cover crops
- using no-till planting techniques
- soil testing
- nutrient management
The district can 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.
Preserving Farmland for Future Generations
The district recently began coordinating the Luzerne County Farmland Preservation Program, which purchases conservation easements on agricultural and forest lands. In exchange for an agreed upon payment for the value of the development rights on the property, the landowner signs an easement that ensures that the property will never developed or used for any purpose other than agricultural or agricultural-related activities.
For more information on the above services, please contact Amy Salansky at 570-938-3022 or Mike Schlauch at 570-938-3018.