What is a Conservation Plan and why Should I get one?

photo of green and black lights

If you have ever talked with your local NRCS or Soil and Water District staff, you may have heard conservation plans mentioned. Simply put, a conservation plan is a document that identifies conservation practices that fit your farm, and a yearly schedule for when to actually use these practices.  It’s easy to think of the term conservation plan as just another segment of the endless paperwork chain created by government.  However, when used practically on the farm, a conservation plan can lay out a framework for best management practices to be implemented, as well as help a crop or livestock producer create a cost-effective strategy for state and federal cost share funding.

That’s great, you may think, but I have enough work to do already, rather than worrying about another plan to follow on my operation.  And while that’s an understandable response, think about these 3 reasons for creating a conservation plan for your farm, first.

  • A conservation plan is like a roadmap for using BMPs.  Failing to plan out which practices fit your farm and when to do them, greatly reduces the likelihood of any practices being successful.  And, a failed conservation practice usually results in a waste of time and money.  Having a plan well ahead of time will keep your conservation goals in focus, as well as help you to get the best return on your investment.
  • Funding opportunities for conservation practices seem to be popping up everywhere.  Along with state and federal cost share dollars for things like no till and cover crops, there are several regional programs that can help cover the cost of using these practices.  Having a feasible conservation plan in hand before entering into a funding agreement will absolutely better your chances of ultimately receiving those payments.  The managers of these programs want to know that their money will earn results, and if those managers see a plan up front, your farm stands out as an operation that is prepared and gains instant credibility.
  • Farms are increasingly faced with the threat of increased environmental regulation in every state.  More mandatory conservation practices are likely on the horizon.  Developing a working conservation plan is the first step in being prepared for any mandated changes in farming practices.   Those changes are going to be much more manageable if they have been considered and planned for early on.
If you’d like to get started on your farm’s conservation plan, email support@farmraise.com with the subject line “Conservation Plan Interest,” and we’ll let you know how to get started!