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PLNA e-News: Protecting Values In Pennsylvania

PLNA Endorses Agricultural Conservation Assistance Program

Thursday, September 10, 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Gregg Robertson
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Harrisburg – PLNA recently signed a letter in support of legislation for the new Agricultural Conservation Assistance Program (ACAP). ACAP was developed through the cooperative effort of numerous organizations seeking more creative solutions to implement conservation practices on farms and nurseries in Pennsylvania.

Program Developed by Partnership

The Pennsylvania office of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, State Conservation Commission and Penn State Agriculture and Environmental Center worked jointly to develop a program that would direct funding to counties, and give the conservation professionals in those areas the flexibility to determine the best management practices specific to local watershed needs.

Modeled after Dirt and Gravel Road Program

This concept is modeled after the successful Dirt and Gravel Road program, funded annually through a gas tax and allocated to the State Conservation Commission. Each year, the State Conservation Commission then allocates this funding to conservation districts based on a formula that factors in miles of unpaved roads and proximity to high-quality streams. The program focuses targeted dollars to areas with the greatest need, instead of a one-size fits all approach. Counties are then able to direct funds to projects locally determined to provide the greatest local water quality benefit.

This same approach can benefit the implementation of best management conservation practices on farms and nurseries. Pennsylvania agriculture is very diversified. The approach to addressing water quality in Lancaster County might not work in Bradford County, and vice-versa. The Agricultural Conservation Assistance Program would take a needs-based approach to driving out conservation dollars to certain regions.

Legislation

The legislation being sought would establish the framework for creating the program and would authorize a broad spectrum of funding sources to support the program, including state dollars, federal allocations, grants and private enterprise investment. The legislation will be introduced in the coming weeks this fall. A draft of the legislation can be downloaded by clicking here.

Support Letter

A copy of the draft letter that PLNA signed supporting the legislation can be downloaded here.


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