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Free training offered for land conservation planning professionals By Sharon Dowdy

The Conserve Research Program helps landowners protect their land – a precious natural resource. But landowners can’t participate if they don’t know about the program.

To educate conservation professionals, a free two-day workshop has been set for April 3-4 at the University of Georgia Tifton Campus Conference Center in Tifton, Ga.

The program gives farmers and landowners technical assistance and a financial incentive to reduce soil erosion and runoff, leading to improved water quality and wildlife habitat. After being accepted into the program, landowners typically develop a conservation plan with the help of a professional trained to work with CRP after being accepted into.

Conservation professionals help landowners assess their unique parcel of land, covering topics like land slope, cropping history, soil type, cultivation methods and water quality. Upon completion of an assessment, the landowner and the conservation professional work together to create CRP conservation plan.

The training is one of 20 being held across the United States in an effort to help Natural Resources Conservation Service workers manage CRP enrollments, develop new conservation plans and help landowners manage existing conservation plans. A national team of Cooperative Extension specialists, NRCS and Farm Service Agency staff and representatives from other partnering agencies developed the multi-faced training program.

The workshops began the first week of March and will conclude at the end of May. Participants will learn how to create, implement and maintain CRP plans based on national and state conservation practices. Following the workshop, attendees will be assigned a program mentor to guide them in developing and implementing their first CRP plan.

The Georgia workshop will be taught by UGA Cooperative Extension engineers Mark Risse and Gary Hawkins and retired NRCS consultant David Ferrell. Lead by the University of Wisconsin, teams from UGA, Penn State, University of Minnesota and Montana State University created the training curriculum.

To register for the Tifton training, go to http://conservation-training.uwex.edu/crpworkshops. The registration deadline is March 26.

(Sharon Dowdy is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)

Stream on Westbrook Farm
Stream on Westbrook Farm

A stream runs through the Westbrook Farm at the University of Georgia campus in Griffin, Ga.

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A stream runs through the Westbrook Farm at the University of Georgia campus in Griffin, Ga. Download Image
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