Partnership Looks to Enhance Organic Conservation Practices

Brian German Agri-Business, USDA-NRCS

A new three-year partnership is aimed at helping expand the implementation of organic conservation practices. An agreement was recently made between the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF). The partnership will help strengthen collaborative efforts between organic producers and NRCS field staff.

Organic Conservation Practices

“This partnership will ensure NRCS field staff better understand organic farming practices and are equipped to support more organic farmers’ conservation efforts,” NRCS Acting Chief Terry Cosby said in a news release. “The agreement comes at a critical time as climate change—with intensified droughts, heat waves, and storms—creates new challenges for farmers and ranchers.”

Participation in NRCS programs has historically been limited for the organic sector. While NRCS has typically worked mostly with conventional farmers, the conservation practices supported by NRCS fit all types of operations. NRCS has assistance available for all sizes of farming operations that can be applied in organic or conventional systems in all regions nationwide. Increased funding support and NRCS technical assistance is needed to help support more widespread implementation of conservation practices in organic production. The partnership will help expand knowledge and outreach for organic conservation practices.

“We are very excited to launch this new partnership,” said Brise Tencer, Executive Director at OFRF. “By creating science-based materials for NRCS staff and helping increase understanding of organic soil health practices such as practical conservation tillage and nutrient management, we are taking an active role in fighting climate change, and supporting the success of organic producers and others who want to adopt more sustainable practices.”

The partnership between OFRF and NRCS will help facilitate more research analyses on organic conservation practices. The development of guidebooks and webinar resources will also be made possible through the partnership. Additionally, an emphasis will be placed on conducting case studies that focus on sustainable approaches to soil health, conservation, and environmental protection.

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West