The Saginaw Bay Watershed Conservation Partnership has been selected to receive $10 million in funding under the new Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), which was created under the 2014 Farm Bill.
“Today’s action will magnify our ability to communicate the benefits of conservation to growers across the watershed,” said Helen Taylor, state director of Michigan for The Nature Conservancy. “This is an important step forward to accelerate the restoration of Saginaw Bay.”
“There’s no quick fix on water quality, but this new public-private partnership under RCPP in the Saginaw Bay Watershed represents an important first step,” said Jim Byrum, president of Michigan Agri-Business Association. “Protecting and improving water quality in the Saginaw Bay will take time, effort and creativity. We look forward to working with The Nature Conservancy, Michigan State University and all the partners involved in this innovative effort.”
The Saginaw Bay Partnership represents a collaboration between conservation organizations, agronomy retailers, higher education institutions, commodity groups, agribusinesses and state and federal agencies. The partnership will aim to shift the paradigm in the field of on-farm conservation by putting innovative conservation tools, developed by Conservancy and Michigan State University scientists, into the hands of certified crop advisors and agronomy retailers throughout the Saginaw Bay Watershed.
Both Taylor and Byrum shared their appreciation for U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, for her efforts to champion final passage of the 2014 Farm Bill and her leadership in developing the RCPP.
Under the program, crop advisors will have new tools to directly assist their Saginaw Bay and Thumb area customers in accessing funding for on-farm conservation to implement critical conservation practices.
Additional details will be forthcoming as The Nature Conservancy and MABA work together with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to convene partners and move the project forward.