While controversy still stirs over the USDA Conservation Reserve Program's real impact on rural America, the USDA is offering CRP Readiness Initiative sessions at Great Falls, Mont., June 19-20 to train conservation pros.
Registration must be completed by June 10-11 for the training to be held at Staybridge Suites Hotel, 201 3rd St NW.
Participants can attend one or both of the workshops.
Online training, wind and soil erosion modeling and web based planning tools are available now at conservation-training.wisc.edu, where registration forms are available.
Sponsored by USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Montana workshops are part of the Initiative, a national effort to train conservation professionals and independent consultants to provide the planning, implementation, and management services associated with the CRP.
NRCS officials say that the sessions may be helpful to conservation professionals working on other NRCS conservation planning projects.
"Participants taking these course will dig deeper, learning about advanced planning concepts and conservation tools and practices," says Kevin Erb, CRP Readiness Initiative co-director. "After completing the training, they will be able to help landowners plan and implement sound conservation practices that will enhance water quality and wildlife habitat, while keeping nutrients in the soil where they can boost yields."
Course descriptions include the following:
June 19: Plant ID. Participants will develop knowledge of plant terminology and morphology, learn diagnostic characters of plant groups typically found on CRP lands, practice using a dichotomous key for plant ID, and identify plant specimens in a classroom and field.
CRP Plan: This course is designed to walk participants through the CRP planning process. The class will learn how to develop NRCS maps, use online tools to evaluate soils, assess installation and maintenance specifications, and develop a timeline so landowners can meet CRP regulations.