Funding available to Western Lake Erie Basin farmers to improve water quality


INDIANAPOLIS (Nov. 6, 2023) — Funding is now available from USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Indiana to help Western Lake Erie Basin producers implement conservation practices on their land. This funding is provided through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) and will assist farmers in implementing practices designed to keep nutrients on fields and improve their watershed.

“This ongoing federal funding and technical support from our department of agriculture is a great asset to Hoosier farmers in the Western Lake Erie Basin,” said Lt. Gov. Crouch, Indiana’s Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development. “Keeping nutrients in our soils is crucial to keeping waterways clean and farmers more economically viable. I encourage farmers in Adams, Allen, Dekalb, Noble, Steuben and Wells counties to apply for this funding and to assist in keeping our watersheds healthy.”

The RCPP funding comes from a 2021 USDA agreement totaling $7.8 million. Indiana, Michigan and Ohio each receive a portion of the funding to assist producers in implementing best management practices in an effort to reduce downstream runoff and ultimately decrease harmful algal blooms and phosphorus levels. The Tri-State RCPP promotes the coordination between NRCS and ISDA partners to implement conservation to landowners in the Western Lake Erie Basin. Counties in the Western Lake Erie Basin include parts of Adams, Allen, Dekalb, Noble, Steuben and Wells.

Eligible producers and forestland owners who wish to implement conservation practices on their land should discuss their options with their local district conservationist.  While NRCS accepts program applications year-round, Indiana producers and landowners should apply by Dec. 8, 2023 to be considered for the current RCPP-WLEB funding cycle. Applications received after Dec. 8 will automatically be considered during the next funding cycle. For more information or to submit an application, contact your local district conservationist by visiting

“This project is a great example of public, private and non-profit organizations working together to solve local problems,” said Acting Indiana State Conservationist Curtis Knueven. “This partnership is addressing critical issues in the watershed like water quality and soil quality. By targeting RCPP dollars and leveraging partner resources, we can make a greater impact on the health of the Western Lake Erie Basin.”

Indiana eligible practices for farmers in the Western Lake Erie Basin for this funding period include filter strips, structures for water control, habitat planting, livestock management, nutrient management and many others. Farmers are encouraged to contact their local NRCS office before Dec. 8 to apply for the current funding cycle. This funding will work with producers to improve the health and productivity of their operations.

“I would encourage farmers in this area to reach out and learn more about the funding and assistance provided through the regional conservation partnership,” said Don Lamb, Indiana State Department of Agriculture director. “One of the best parts of this program is that Indiana is a small piece of the puzzle, Michigan and Ohio farmers are also eligible to apply for this funding so we can work together to benefit water quality in the Western Lake Erie Basin watershed.”

Click here to learn more about the funding and the Western Lake Erie Basin or click here to find your local USDA-NRCS service center.