Planning is always the first step in successfully completing any endeavor. This holds true for conservation efforts on agricultural operations. A conservation plan is a record of decisions made by a farm operator which details information on best management practices in use on the farm or planned to be used in the near future. Having a plan in place helps ensure that valuable soil and nutrients are kept where they are supposed to be – on your farm – rather than as runoff into nearby water sources.
A conservation plan is a site specific action plan to assist farmers in successful management of their soil, water, air, plant, animal, and human resources. The Chester County Conservation District offers technical services to develop conservation plans.
According to the Pennsylvania Clean Streams Law, Chapter 102, any landowner who tills (including no-till) over 5,000 square feet or has animal heavy use areas (exposed, “brown” areas in pastures or exercise areas) of over 5,000 square feet is required to have an agricultural erosion and sediment control plan or conservation plan.
Conservation plans are typically written by trained professionals such as District staff, NRCS, or private consultants. There are options for landowners to complete their own plan, most notably the PA One Stop program, which can be found at paonestop.org.