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The water and the land are connected

Project Summary

Since 1995, the Kansas Rural Center has been helping farmers protect water quality with sustainable farming practices through the Clean Water Farms Project. Beginning in 2001, the Clean Water Farm - River Friendly Farm Project now includes the use of the River Friendly Farm Environmental Assessment.  A copy of the River Friendly Farm Environmental Assessment can be downloaded by clicking here. (NOTE: this is a pdf file which requires Adobe Acrobat Reader.  If you do not already have this software, you may obtain it for free from Adobe)  Hard copies are also available from the KRC office.  Participating farmers complete the environmental self-assessment for their own farm with assistance from KRC staff. Then the farmer uses the completed assessment to develop an action plan that protects or improves water quality on the farm. Those who complete the assessment and develop an approved action plan are eligible for a $250 incentive payment.

With an approved action plan, farmers and ranchers are eligible to apply for up to $5,000 in cost-share funds to implement part of their plan. These funds may be used in conjunction with state and federal cost share programs. A Clean Water Farms advisory team will review the action plans and cost share applications for approval. CWFP staff will work with the individual farmer through all phases of the project: completing the assessment, developing the action plan, identifying possible solutions, and monitoring progress. (Click here for more information about the cost-share program.)

To be eligible for the CWF - RFFP Incentive payment or cost-share program - participants must operate or own a farm or ranch within a WRAPS watershed or High Priority TMDL Watershed area as identified in the map below by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) . WRAPS stands for Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy, and refers to a new approach to watershed planning, management and protection across the state. All state agencies, the Kansas Water Authority, the Governor's sub-cabinet on natural resource issues, plus Kansas State University are tied into this new framework for identifying problems and issues within local watersheds and developing action plans and identifying technical and financial resources to address those issues. Most TMDL areas (total maximum daily load) are also within a WRAPS boundary, but a few are not. Increasingly the various State cost-share programs will be tied to these areas. CWF-RFFP can work with farmers and ranchers within the WRAPS watersheds and in the TMDL stream areas identified below.

Farmers and ranchers may also contact the Kansas Rural Center or individual CWFP staff members to determine whether or not their farm is located in a priority watershed. Participants must also show income from the farm or ranch operation.

Kansas WRAPS Projects
as of February 2009
Kansas WRAPS Map
Click here to download the map. Click here to download a pdf version of the WRAPS map,
which includes contact information for the stakeholder leadership teams
in each project area.

 

The Clean Water Farm - River Friendly Farm Project (CWF-RFFP) is a project of the Kansas Rural Center, administered by the Kansas Department of Health and the Environment and funded by U.S. EPA Non-point Source Section 319 Program Funds.

Clean Water Farms Project Staff:
Mary Fund, Project Coordinator, Whiting, ksrc@rainbowtel.net, 785-873-3431
Mary Howell, Field Organizer, Frankfort, marshallcofair@networksplus.net, 785-292-4955
Dale Kirkham, Field Organizer, Eureka, dalekirkham@msn.com, 620-583-5247
Ed Reznicek, Field Organizer, Goff, amerugi@jubntelco.com, 785-939-2032
Troy Schroeder, Field Organizer, Albert, troyas@gbta.net, 785-650-3182
Jason Schmidt, Field Organizer, Topeka, Jason_schmidt20@hotmail.com, 316-461-3243


River Friendly Farm Environmental Assessment

The River Friendly Farm Environmental Assessment notebook was developed by Kansas State University and the Kansas Rural Center to assist farmers and ranchers in assessing the environmental strengths and weaknesses on their farms. The tool helps identify family and farm goals, problems or potential problems, and helps prioritize a plan of action to address the identified concerns.

The assessment consists of a notebook with questions to help farmers assess and score the status of soil conservation, nutrient management, pest management and livestock waste utilization on their farm. Using information they already have from conservation plans, aerial maps, and field and yield data, most farmers can complete the assessment in a day or a day and a half. A "quality of life" section involves the whole family in the planning process.

A copy of the River Friendly Farm Plan Environmental Assessment can be downloaded by clicking here. (NOTE: this is a pdf file which requires Adobe Acrobat Reader.  If you do not already have it, you may obtain this free software from Adobe)  Hard copies are also available from the KRC office.

Benefits of using the River Friendly Farm Environmental Assessment include:

  • Better defined farm goals and a clear plan for achieving those goals

  • Farmer control over the process; assessment information remains confidential

  • Improved conservation management-- which translates in the long term if not short term into money saved

  • Improved position for qualifying for cost-share funds from a variety of sources

  • Better position to comply with - or avoid - future environmental regulation

Clean Water Farms Cost Share Funds

The Kansas Rural Center's Clean Water Farms Project offers farmers in high priority watersheds the opportunity to apply for up to $5,000 in cost share funds. To be eligible for the cost share funds, the farmer must have completed the River Friendly Farm self-assessment and developed an approved action plan to improve or protect water quality. (See the Assessment and Cost-Share Guidelines - PDF)

In the process of completing the Cost Share Application Form (PDF), the applicant must clearly define the water quality problem identified in the RFF assessment and describe how the funds will be used to complete an item on their action plan that addresses the water quality concern. Cost share recipients must match the requested cost share funds with an equal value of labor, machinery or land use, and /or purchased materials. At the completion of the project, a final accounting of expenditures and contributed resources is required.

If funded at the full $5,000 limit, the project is considered a "demonstration project" and the farmer will be asked to host a farm tour or share information via workshops or other outreach avenues.

Eligible practices include but are not limited to:
  • Planning and implementing extended legume-based crop rotations
  • Use of cover crops, buffer strips, riparian filter strips, field grass filter strips, and stream bank stabilization efforts
  • Livestock management systems that reduce confinement feeding and potential pollution including:
    • management intensive grazing systems
    • conversion of cropland to grassland
    • alternative livestock watering systems
    • alternative forages
    • fencing of streams and ponds or restricted access water ramps
    • construction of stream crossings
    • alternative shelters and/or windbreaks for livestock
  • Livestock waste management systems that limit potential pollution from feedlots, wintering, feeding, and storage areas including:
    • soil and manure tests for application for crop needs
    • composting
    • site re-design
    • diversion terraces and sediment basins
  • High residue cropping systems, conversion to no-till or minimum till with a planned crop rotation
  • Household wastewater systems: assistance for failing septic systems if the assessment shows this to be a significant pollution problem on the farm or ranch
  • Constructing a fuel containment structure

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