Accelerating Farmer Outreach and Conservation Practice Adoption in the Chiques, Conoy and Conewago Creek Watersheds

The Penn State Agriculture and Environment Center recently launched the Chiques-Conoy-Conewago Regional Partnership, or C3RP, in priority adjacent watersheds in western Lancaster and southern Lebanon and Dauphin Counties.

The partnership is funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and builds upon over a decade of local watershed collaborative efforts facilitated by the AEC in this region. A diverse set of agriculture and conservation partners are working together to provide sampling and data collection, outreach, technical assistance, and funding assistance to interested farmers in the C3RP region.

A “muddy boots" outreach team has been formed, with partners from private sector, conservation districts, NGOs, and Extension joining the AEC in conducting outreach to farmers in the region. Farmers interested in working with the partnership can take advantage of tools developed by Penn State researchers and Extension to improve soil health, water quality and farm productivity. The grant also supports technical assistance and funding administered by the Lancaster County Conservation District to implement priority conservation practices highlighted in the Phase 3 WIP, including riparian buffers, manure storages, cover crops, no-till transition, stream and wetland restoration, grazing management, barnyard improvements, and 4Rs nutrient management.

Outreach partners are beginning to get their boots muddy, and funding for the first farm conservation project under the grant was awarded in December.

The Chiques-Conoy-Conewago Regional Partnership includes Penn State University, Lancaster, Lebanon and Dauphin County Conservation Districts, USDA NRCS, USDA ARS, Lancaster Farmland Trust, Stroud Water Research Center, PA No-Till Alliance, TeamAg, Inc., Red Barn Consulting, Rosetree Consulting, Susquehanna River Basin Commission, Chesapeake Conservancy, Londonderry Township and other local municipalities, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and, most importantly, our local farmers.