Press-Republican

Guest Column

March 31, 2013

Agency provides valuable assistance

Established in 1949, the Clinton County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) has been a small but important local agency working for farmers, land owners and local municipalities.

Responsible for promoting conservation, the SWCD is authorized under state law as the local natural resource management entity. The Clinton County SWCD is overseen by a board of directors made up of local farmers and two members of the County Legislature. While the district is funded locally by the county, conservation projects initiated by the district bring in outside funding that far outweighs the local cost. 

And by addressing natural resource needs locally, the district has the flexibility to meet needs quickly.

In Clinton County, District Manager Nathaniel Grue and Technician Ben Clark deliver technical services and expertise in the implementation of statewide conservation programs to local government, and for both agricultural and rural landowners. The district continues to perform its traditional role as the local natural resources agency; advising farmers, towns and others on issues related to soils, wetlands, ditches and stream-bank stabilization.

Clinton County’s SWCD has been especially active and sought after for technical assistance related to the planning, design and surveying of subsurface drainage systems for agricultural fields. With appropriate design, drainage or “tile” can markedly improve crop yields while at the same time reducing surface water runoff, erosion, compaction and damage to the soil structure.

The Agricultural Environmental Management program is another program offered by all districts in the state. This voluntary, incentive-based program encourages farmers to adopt practices that address the water quality concerns of agricultural activities.

By documenting practices and developing farm plans that address identified concerns, the AEM program helps to manage manure and fertilizer nutrients, protect drinking water and promote the benefits of farmland in the community. By linking local farmers with sources of cost-share funds, the AEM program encourages the adoption of environmentally sound practices which helps our whole community.

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