W4Ag Project Update—Summer 2019

Following a brief “pause” in most of our local leadership team’s schedule to accommodate seasonal farming priorities we have now resumed our strategic action discussion in our project sites.

The majority of our leadership groups’ efforts prior to this summer have focused on creating a common understanding of each group’s perspectives, issues, challenges, and successes.

As we move into late summer and early Fall, our facilitators and local leadership groups are now working toward identifying their research, education and information, and engagement priorities – and to develop the action strategies to meet these objectives.

For more information related to specific site updates please see each site’s page.

Casey encourages Pa. farmers to sign up for CSP

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Bob Casey, D-Pa., encouraged Pennsylvania’s farmers to sign up for the Conservation Stewardship Program, which is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Interested producers must complete an initial, short application by Friday in order to participate in the current annual funding cycle.

Full story: https://www.morningagclips.com/casey-encourages-pa-farmers-to-sign-up-for-csp/

DEP Invites Comments on Draft Plan to Reduce Pollution and Improve Water Quality in Pennsylvania’s Part of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) invites comments from residents, communities, farmers, and local government leaders on a draft plan to improve water quality in streams and rivers by removing nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment pollution in the Susquehanna and Potomac watersheds.

Full Story: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/DEP_details.aspx?newsid=1178

Update: March 2019

We begin 2019 with the formal kick-off of engagement activities that will form the backbone of community-based activities and research.  To date, four out of our five sites (two each in Nebraska and Pennsylvania) have established their leadership teams.  These leadership teams will be the focal point of our coordination, assistance, informational and research efforts.  Our Arizona site (Verde Valley) will be initiating their effort within a month.

Each team (comprised of a diverse set of stakeholders including farmers and farm organization, scientists, technical service providers and other organizations and decision makers) is now embarking on a 12-18 month strategic planning process.  These processes are designed to assist them identify and prioritize the challenges, information needs, resources and strategies required to address the water and agriculture issues that matter most to them.   You can find out more about each site and their initial activities on our Project Sites tab.

Last month also saw the start of our external webinar series designed to encourage sharing of scholarship and practitioners’ experience with community-based stakeholder engagement in natural resources.  We began this series with a look at the Voluntary Stewardship program presented by Dr. Michael Kern, Director of the William D. Ruckelhaus Center and Associate Professor of Extension at Washington State University.  You can find the slides and recording of Dr. Kern’s presentation here.

New Webinar Recording Available

A new webinar titled “The Voluntary Stewardship Program: Engaging Diverse Interests to Resolve Conflict Over Preserving Agriculture and Protecting Natural Resources” by Michael Kern is now available. It provides an on-the-ground example of what it can look like when diverse interests are engaged in a collaborative process to address issues around preserving agriculture, while protecting natural resources like water and fish. https://water4ag.psu.edu/webinar-library/