INDIANA – In recognition of Earth Day, the Indiana Conservation Partnership (ICP) announced its 2020 soil health and water quality accomplishments. The ICP works with Hoosier landowners to provide technical or financial assistance for the implementation of conservation projects. In 2020, landowners supported by the ICP installed more than 32,000 new conservation practices – a new state record.
“Soil is one of our world’s most crucial natural resources. We must do everything we can to keep our waterways clean and our soils healthy,” said Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, Secretary of Agriculture for the State of Indiana. “It is amazing to see all the work these organizations do and the amount of sediment reduced by these programs. Hoosier landowners are truly going above and beyond to set new state records and enhance our environment.”
The Indiana Conservation Partnership report showed that landowners helped prevent more than one million tons of sediment, 2.2 million pounds of nitrogen and 1.1 million pounds of phosphorus from entering Indiana waterways. That equates to enough phosphorus to fill over five fifty-foot train cars, enough nitrogen to fill over 11 fifty-foot train cars and almost 11,000 fifty-foot train cars worth of sediment.
Cover crops were planted on 232,000 acres with ICP assistance, which sequestered almost 148,000 tons of carbon from the atmosphere, equal to the emissions of more than 28,900 cars.
“Even with all of the challenges we have faced this year, our conservation family pulled together and fulfilled our mission of exemplary conservation service to Indiana’s farmers and forest stewards,” said Indiana Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) State Conservationist Jerry Raynor. “The work we accomplished this year is a direct result of our dedicated staff, their commitment to our natural resources, and the support they provide our landowners. The Indiana Conservation Partnership has worked together to meet new challenges, making sure that Indiana continues to be one of the top states for conservation.”
Indiana State Department of Agriculture Director Bruce Kettler says partnerships are key to Indiana’s success.
“Indiana is leading the charge in soil conservation thanks to the critical participation of farmers and landowners alongside these groups who share the common goal of promoting conservation,” Kettler said. “The Indiana Conservation Partnership’s work is helping reduce runoff and enrich our soils with nutrients to safeguard our state’s most essential natural resource and ensure our state’s agricultural land remains productive for many generations to come.”
The ICP is made up of public and non-profit groups, along with landowners, that work together for the betterment of soil health and water quality. ICP organizations include, Indiana Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts, IDEM, Indiana DNR, ISDA, Indiana State Soil Conservation Board, Purdue Extension, USDA-FSA and USDA-NRCS.
The Indiana Conservation Partnership is a crucial part of Indiana’s Nutrient Reduction Strategy, this illustrates the continued success and challenges of conservation and serves as a tool to help set watershed priorities and reduction targets, manage conservation resources and to further stakeholder involvement across Indiana.
To find more information on soil and water conservation in Indiana, soil and carbon sequestration, soil conservation trends, Indiana’s work in our three water basins, or partnership between other states in the full report, click here or visit isda.in.gov.
The Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) was established as a separate state agency by the Legislature in 2005. Administratively, ISDA reports to Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch, who also serves as Indiana’s Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development. Major responsibilities include advocacy for Indiana agriculture at the local, state and federal level, managing soil conservation programs, promoting economic development and agricultural innovation, serving as a regulatory ombudsman for agricultural businesses, and licensing grain firms throughout the state.
NRCS is helping private landowners improve the health of their operations while protecting our natural resources for the future. We are working to ensure the long-term sustainability of American agriculture. Our mission and vision statements serve as the foundation for our work and help guide our efforts when faced with competing demands, exciting challenges, and new opportunities that stem from complex Farm Bills and fluctuating industry needs.