Missouri Department of Conservation can connect landowners with funding for practices that benefit grazing forage

Landscape of United States farmland (Photo via Envato Elements)

The Missouri Department of Conservation can connect farmers and property owners with land management expertise and financial assistance offered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service. MDC is the lead agency for some Regional Conservation Partnership Programs designed to boost grassland habitat and forage, increase natural buffers around crop fields, and improve wildlife habitat.

Programs where MDC is the lead agency in the northwest, Kansas City, and other regions include:

  • Grassland Bird and Grazing Lands Enhancement Initiative (Adair, Andrew, Atchison, Barton, Bates, Benton, Caldwell, Carroll, Cass, Cedar, Dade, Daviess, Dekalb, Gentry, Grundy, Harrison, Henry, Holt, Jasper, Johnson, Lawrence, Livingston, Mercer, Nodaway, Pettis, St. Clair, Sullivan, Vernon, and Worth counties): This project assists landowners to incorporate native warm-season forages on privately owned grazing operations and other lands. Native grasses provide excellent, drought-resistant forage for livestock during the summer months when cool-season grasses are dormant. They also provide important habitats for grassland birds and other wildlife. MDC can provide from 25 to 90 percent of additional financial assistance for the implementation of practices such as planting native warm season grasses.
  • Precision Farm Data & Strategic Buffer Project(Chariton, Lafayette, Linn, Macon, Pettis, Randolph, and Saline counties): This project focuses on utilizing on-farm yield data to identify non-profitable or marginal cropland acres to strategically establish field borders, pollinator habitat, wetlands and more to maximize profitability while improving water quality and wildlife habitat. Through this program, the yield data, soil data, and farm budgets can be used to highlight areas on your farm that either isn’t profitable or cause logistical challenges in farming. Once these areas are identified, planners can match these targeted areas to habitat practices that best fit your operation and production goals. A one-time incentive payment of $300 per acre will be provided by MDC for the enrollment of wildlife-friendly field borders.

Enrollment is now open. But qualifying farmers and landowners must apply by Jan. 13, 2023, to qualify for this round of funding. Individuals and entities are eligible to participate in RCPP. Applications will be made through local NRCS offices. For more information about the program from an MDC private lands conservationist, contact the private land conservationist in the eligible counties.

The NRCS has also opened enrollment for some programs in Missouri where the lead contacts are with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Quail Forever, and Pheasants Forever. Included in those programs are pollinator habitat and stream stewardship programs that some counties in the northwest and Kansas City regions qualify for. For a complete listing of RCPP programs currently open for enrollment in Missouri, visit this link.

For more information about MDC assistance for private landowners and managers, visit this link.

(Photo via Envato Elements)