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Last updated: August 24. 2013 6:06AM - 153 Views

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MARYSVILLE, Ohio - Growers and landowners can learn how to develop a Conservation Reserve Program plan and how to manage CRP contracts during workshops June 12 and 13 offered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service's Readiness Initiative.



The workshops will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Union County Services Center, 940 London Ave., Marysville.



They are part of the CRP Readiness Initiative, a nationwide effort to train conservation professionals and independent consultants to provide the planning, implementation and management services associated with the CRP, said Kevin Erb, CRP Readiness Initiative co-director and a certified crop adviser.



While especially relevant to the more than 400 professionals who have already participated in the program, the Ohio workshops may also be useful to conservation professionals working on other NRCS and conservation planning projects, he said.



"Participants taking these courses will dig deeper, learning about advanced planning concepts and conservation tools and practices, like writing CRP plans and managing contracts," Erb said. "After completing the training, they will be able to help landowners plan for and implement sound conservation practices that will enhance water quality and wildlife habitat, while keeping nutrients in the soil where they can boost yields."



Professionals from nonprofits, conservation districts and state agencies with ties to NRCS are encouraged to participate.



Workshops include:



* "CRP Plan: Start to Finish," on June 12. The daylong event focuses on how to develop NRCS-required maps; use online tools to evaluate soils in order to choose the best conservation practices; assess installation and maintenance specifications; and develop a timeline so landowners can meet all CRP program requirements. The deadline to register is June 2.



* "Mid-Contract Management: Creating and Maintaining Exceptional Habitat," on June 13. This daylong workshop will focus on how to work with landowners to develop a mid-contract management plan and conduct a site visit to evaluate the effectiveness of mid-contract management practices on the land. An online portion of this course must be completed in advance of the June 13 workshop. The deadline to register is May 13.



Both workshops include lunch and are free, upon completion of online CRP training or in-person CRP core training.



The CRP Readiness Initiative also offers the following online courses:



* Wind Erosion Prediction System (WEPS) - covers the WEPS computer model, wind erosion process and its effects on agricultural production and the environment.



* The Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE2) - teaches participants to use RUSLE2 to understand and compare practices to reduce soil erosion caused by rainfall and runoff.



* Conservation Planning Web Tools - a hands-on exploration of the Web Soil Survey and electronic Field Office Technical Guide, which are used by conservation professionals in a variety of conservation programs.



* CRPRI Online Core Training - teaches how to create a CRP conservation plan.



To register for the workshops or online courses, go to http://conservation-training.wisc.edu and click Conservation Planning. For more information, contact Laurie Schoonhoven at 814-863-5717 or lms28@psu.edu.



More information on the CRP Readiness Initiative can be found at http://facesofcrp.info.



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