Farm Improvement Financial Assistance
We make cost share assistance available to landowners in designated Pierce County sub watersheds to implement best practices such as these on farms. The below is not a comprehensive list. Cost share is allocated on an application basis through a competitive process and is distributed four times a year in March, May, July, and September.
Funding is provided through various sources such as: the District's rates and charges system, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, WA State Department of Health, WA State Department of Ecology, and WA State Department of Fish and Wildlife. Funding is provided on a reimbursement basis, and practices must meet USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service specifications. A District engineer provides design assistance when necessary. All practices must meet Pierce County Code requirements and all applicable permits must be obtained by the landowner prior to starting all projects. The District may be able to provide some permit guidance and assistance.
- Cross-fencing for rotational grazing
- Manure and composting infrastructure
- Livestock heavy use area protection at .5 square feet per 100 pounds
- Pasture renovation
- Cover crop seed purchase
- Native and beneficial insect pollinator plantings
- Riparian buffer plantings
- Fencing to exclude livestock from waterways
- Irrigation efficiency
- Roof water management
REGIONAL CONSERVATION PARTNERSHIP PROGRAM (RCPP)
Through a partnership with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and in collaboration with our land trust partners, the Pierce Conservation District is funneling almost 8 million dollars into the Puyallup and Nisqually watersheds to permanently protect farmland and to provide on-farm improvements.
This funding is coming from two NRCS programs. The Agricultural Conservation Easement Program, which will be used to permanently protect farmland through Agricultural Land Easements. For more information, contact our partners Forterra and Washington Farmland Trust, who are administering that program. Funding is available for easements until September 2023.
The other program being administered by the Pierce Conservation District is the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP). These funds are being used to provide technical and financial assistance to implement best management practices that benefit water quality, fish and wildlife habitat, and soil condition. The next application deadline for this funding source will be mid-March, 2023. Funding is available for EQIP until September 2023. For more information, contact our Farm Team.
COVER CROP FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
RENEWABLE ENERGY AND EFFICIENCY GRANT PROGRAM
As the cost of energy inputs continues to rise, Washington’s farmers and rural small businesses are looking to renewable energy and energy efficiency to meet their operational needs. Pierce Conservation District is working with nonprofit Spark Northwest to help local farms and businesses generate their own clean energy.
The Rural Energy for Washington program can help agricultural producers and rural small businesses explore opportunities to install renewable energy systems and upgrade to energy efficient equipment. In addition to providing free project consultations and project development assistance, the Rural Energy team can connect participants to grants, utility incentives, tax subsidies, and financing to help complete projects – and avoid pitfalls along the way.
To learn more about the program and eligibility, please visit our Climate Resiliency website page.
"Spark Northwest walked me through every step of the USDA grant application process making it so much easier than trying to do it on my own," said Rawley Johnson, owner/operator of Early Bird Farm. "Our farm now has grant funding to install solar panels on the barn!"
Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP)
Washington State’s Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) is a voluntary program designed to benefit farms and fish by incentivizing streamside habitat restoration. CREP pays farmers and landowners to grow a different crop in streamside areas of their property – that crop is habitat for salmon. This joint program is administered at the federal-level by the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA), at the state-level by the State Conservation Commission (SCC), and at the local level by conservation districts. View CREP flyer.
Farmers voluntarily enroll in the program to plant native trees and shrubs to create a “buffer zone” between their crop fields or pasture and eligible streams. Cropping activities and livestock grazing are excluded from the buffer area and the newly planted zone of native vegetation grows to buffer and shade the stream - keeping the water cool and clean for salmon. The enrollment of the land as a buffer is preserved under 10 or 15-year renewable contracts.
|Crop field before CREP||Crop field after CREP|
Landowners are assisted by a conservation district CREP technician to design a buffer vegetation plan and get the plants installed. Project costs are paid by the program and farmers receive annual rental payments for the land they enroll. Project oversight and buffer maintenance is provided for 5 years after planting to ensure that the trees and shrubs grow healthy and strong.
If you have unused land choked with blackberry and bordering a stream, learn how the Washington State CREP could benefit you, your farm, and salmon. It is a win-win situation for Washington farms and fish.