Agriculture is a key cornerstone of the foundation of the District. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Indiana County has 951 farms that comprise a total of 148,288 acres, with 58% being used for crops compared to 42% for livestock, poultry, and other products.
In partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the District provides technical assistance and program availability visits to farmers throughout the county regarding drought management, best management practices, soil health, and funding assistance. Additionally, the District provides manure management assistance and Resource Enhancement and Protection Program (REAP) application guidance.
Farming remains one of the most important industries in Indiana County. The District continues to serve our farming community by implementing best management practices to reduce soil and nutrient loss, thereby making the farm more profitable while cleaning up our streams in the process.
The Indiana County Conservation District is administering the ACAP program to assist Indiana County farmers with installing best management practices on their farm. Projects can range in scope and include a variety of practices including riparian buffers, heavy use areas, grazing systems, cover crops, access road improvements, and many more.
Any person or legal entity that has legal of financial responsibility for one of the following:
The implementation of a Best Management Practice (BMP) or combination of BMPs, identified in an agricultural operation’s agricultural erosion and sediment control plan, conservation plan, manure management plan, or nutrient management plan, which is necessary to reduce nutrient and sediment pollution from the agricultural operation and meets the criteria established by the State Conservation Commission. For a list of eligible BMPs, please click here.
Project design, engineering and associated planning, project management costs, including contracting, document preparation and applications; project construction and installation; equipment and materials; post-construction inspections and any other cost as deemed appropriate by the State Conservation Commission. Grants are capped at $250,000 per applicant.
The first step to applying for the program is to set up a pre-application visit with our ACAP Coordinator, Alexis Shank. She will discuss the program and application requirements with you to make sure that you have everything you need to submit a successful application. Click here to contact us.
Below are the various forms and additional instructions necessary to submit a grant application for the ACAP program:
There are three classifications of animal operations. CAFO=Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation, CAO=Concentrated Animal Operation, and AO=Animal Operation. Classification is determined by the size of your herd and acres of crop fields. To determine what your farm is considered, go through this quick worksheet, found here.
What is nutrition management? Nutrient management involves the efficient use of manure and fertilizer nutrients to meet but not exceed crop needs. The goal of proper nutrient management is to maximize crop yields without over-applying nutrients, thus reducing unnecessary fertilizer costs and protecting surface and ground water from nutrient pollution. Nutrient management plans provide field-specific manure and fertilizer application rates, as well as solutions to any storm water or manure management issues that may exist on the farm. Farms defined as concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) AND concentrated animal operations (CAOs) are required by Pennsylvania’s Nutrient Management Act (Act 38) to develop and implement a nutrient management plan (NMP). A CAO is any farm having more than 2,000 pounds of live animal weight, on an annualized basis, per acre of ground where crops are harvested. Individuals can become certified to write their own nutrient management plans or they can have a plan developed by a certified commercial nutrient management planner. For farms that produce less manure than is needed to meet their crop needs, a plan can be especially useful for prioritizing which fields most need the limited manure that is available. Soil testing and good records on crop yields are at the heart of an effective nutrient management program. Even for farms that don’t develop full plans, soil testing is a must for determining nutrient and lime needs. Soil test kits are available for purchase through Penn State’s Agricultural Analytical Services Lab.
When a commercial nutrient management specialist develops a NMP for an agricultural operation in Indiana County, the plan is submitted to the District for review. The District’s Nutrient Management Specialist reviews the plan for administrative completeness, and performs a technical review to ensure that all requirements of Act 38 have been met. The plan is then brought before the Conservation District Board of Directors for approval. The District also educates the local agricultural community on the benefits of nutrient management, and works to resolve manure-related complaints.
Biosolids are not raw sewage. Biosolids are those wastewater solids that have been treated to produce fertilizers or soil amendments. Typically, biosolids are used in areas such as agriculture, landscaping and mine reclamation to promote plant growth and soil regeneration.
Information on Biosolids can be reviewed on the DEP website by clicking here.
The Indiana County Farmland Easement Board administers the Indiana County Farmland Preservation Program. The Agricultural Conservation Easement Purchase Program, commonly referred to as Farmland Preservation, identifies properties and slows the loss of prime farmland to non-agricultural uses. It enables state, county and local governments to purchase conservation easements, also called development rights, from owners of quality farmland.
Established in 1998, The Indiana County Farmland Easement Board has preserved 1249 acres of farmland on eleven farms for a purchase price of over $2.5 million.
For Information about the Farmland Preservation program, please contact their board of Directors via the contact information below:
Janis Long, President 724-349-9474
David Bork, Board Member 724-388-1335