1. Crop Care

EPA Farm-Focused Project to Improve Water Quality

Vipin Saini
Vipin Saini
EPA Farm-Focused Project

Governor Laura Kelly on a farm near Holton, Kansas, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the award of $750,000 to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, as part of the Agency’s Farmer to Farmer grant program. KDHE’s project supports improving water quality, habitat, resilience, and peer-to-peer information exchange among farmers to benefit people and ecosystems. 

“EPA is proud to support the leadership of farmers and their innovative approaches to improve water quality while working to fuel and feed the world,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “EPA is committed to meaningful partnerships with farmers to advance sustainable agriculture practices while creating healthy, clean, and safe environments for all.” 

“This $750,000 in grants will help our agriculture community improve water quality and protect our environment,” said Governor Laura Kelly. “I want to thank the EPA for their partnership, and KDHE for working with our communities to distribute these funds.” 

“It is critically important that we work with states, nonprofits, and farmers to reduce agriculture-related nutrients in our waters,” said Acting EPA Region 7 Administrator Edward H. Chu. “The Farmer to Farmer program generates ideas and action by targeting funds on local solutions where we can make the greatest difference. I’m pleased that this funding will go to educate and empower farmers to implement best practices in their operations to reduce nutrient loads and improve water quality in local watersheds.” 

“The Kansas Department of Health and Environment is excited to be part of the Farmer to Farmer Program and the opportunities this initiative will bring to our state’s environment,” Dr. Lee Norman, KDHE Secretary. “By providing our farmers with the coaching to facilitate regenerative agriculture adoption across the Kansas landscape, we can increase water holding capacity of our fields and protect the watersheds that we all live in.” 

“Kansas farmers and ranchers have a strong tradition of conservation that stretches back to the 1930s to fight the Dust Bowl,” said Kansas Department of Agriculture Secretary Mike Beam. “Locally led conservation efforts are just as important today as they were then. Innovation, ingenuity, and partnership are crucial to protecting our natural resources while increasing the productivity of our agricultural systems.” 

Farmers manage millions of acres of privately held working lands. While farmers are working in watersheds to provide the food, fuel, and fiber for the world, they are also managing challenges across the landscape to minimize pollution occurring from a variety of locations known as “nonpoint sources,” specifically the excess nitrogen and phosphorous that can enter water bodies through runoff or soil erosion. Farmers are often the first line of action in reducing nonpoint source pollution and have developed innovative practices and models to share their knowledge with others. 

The collaboration of a wide range of stakeholders and organizations across an entire watershed is vital to reducing nutrient pollution to our waters. Farmers can play an important leadership role in these efforts when they get involved and engage with their state governments, farm organizations, conservation groups, educational institutions, nonprofit organizations, and community groups. 

Background:

The Farmer to Farmer grant funding is available to develop innovative practices within farming communities, measure the results of those practices, and identify how the practices will be incorporated into farming operations. Under this grant program, proposals will carry out project activities using one or more of the following methods: surveys, studies, research, investigation, experimentation, education, training, and/or demonstrations. 

This grant program is managed by the Gulf of Mexico Division, which is a non-regulatory program of EPA founded to facilitate collaborative actions to protect, maintain, and restore the health and productivity of the Gulf of Mexico in ways consistent with the economic well-being of the region. To carry out its mission, the Gulf of Mexico Division continues to maintain and expand partnerships with state and federal agencies, federally recognized tribes, local governments and authorities, academia, regional business and industry, agricultural and environmental organizations, and individual citizens and communities. 

Source: EPA 

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