Best Management Pratices
We promote a series of different best management practices providing education, background, and technical information to producers in the region. 


Cost Share Program Information to Come in the Near Future. Please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have.



Blackford County SWCD
Deb Worster, 765-348-1404,

Jay County SWCD
Taylor Suman, 260-726-4888 Ext 3015,



If you would prefer to apply online, please download the documents below.  The first document is an instruction sheet which will make filling out the application a breeze (CWI application instructions). Please download all four documents, fill out the required information per the instruction sheet, scan the completed pages, and email them back to Tim Kroeker at  Thanks for your interest in the program, and we look forward to hearing from you soon!

Program Files:

             CWI application instructions

             CWI Cost Share App_Form_2021

             FSA Map Permission Slip

             w9 form for IRS - CWI


The Wilderness Park is one of the gems of Blackford County.  The trail head can be found at the intersection of Fulton and West Streets in Harford City, Indiana.  This 50-acre wilderness area contains a variety of nature and fitness trails.  The fitness trail is a 1.1 mile loop and is rated at moderate.  It offers opportunities for hiking and just enjoying the natural surroundings.  The trail is often lightly used, so  there are chances for birding and seeing other wildlife.  Dogs may also use the trail but must be kept on a leash and owners must pick up after their pets. 


The park also includes an open shelter house, picnic tables, and a modern restroom.  Water fountains are available for public use including one for man’s best friend. (Yes, a fenced in area for your dogs is nearby.) 


Another addition to the park is the 4 acre wilderness prairie.  Completed in 2019 it is directly adjacent to the Wilderness Park nature trail.  The park board also completed a bridge between the two properties composed of rustic timbers and a brick pathway surrounded by seasonal flowers and native trees. With its focus on conservation, the Blackford County SWCD partnered with Clean Water Indiana, George and Frances Ball, Ball Brothers Foundation, Robert Cooper Audubon, the Blackford County Community Foundation, and others to help fund the Wilderness Park Prairie.  The Blackford County SWCD Project Managers were instrumental in obtaining a $20,000 Clean Water Indiana Grant, and a $5,000 Ball Brothers Foundation Rapid Grant for the Wilderness Park Project.


A Social Scientists Look at the Salamonie River Watershed


In 2014 the Jay County Commissioners and the Jay, Blackford, and Wells County SWCD’s begin work on a Watershed Management Plan for the Upper Salamonie River Watershed.  As part of this planning process, the steering committee reached out to many partners to help ensure that all the different stakeholders in the region would be heard, and that their concerns would be addressed. In addition to the Upper Salamonie River Watershed, the Lower Salamonie River Watershed was also developing a Watershed Management Plan.  Therefore, both projects worked together at times for mutual benefit.


One of the partners involved with both projects was Taylor University.  To help with the process, Taylor University contributed in a number of ways.  They looked at water quality, conducted habitat analysis, and evaluated stream types and the associated problems.  These are some of the scientific tasks you would associate with a university helping with a watershed project.  However, since most of the issues are complex and require people to potentially change the way they do things, Taylor also completed a social indicator study. They focused on two specific changes farmers and landowners could make that would help address the issues of concern, specifically changing from conventional tillage to no-till, and the adoption of cover crops to improve soil health and reduce erosion.


The primary goal of the project was to conduct an assessment of the obstacles and opportunities for reducing agriculture’s impact on downstream water quality through the adoption of cover crops and reduced tillage in four Indiana counties.  They focused on four specific counties that represented both the Upper and Lower Salamonie river watersheds: Huntington, Blackford, Jay, and Wells counties.   The study gave stakeholder a chance to voice their concerns and give advice to government agencies that are trying to better understand the realities on the ground as they develop programs aimed at helping farmers improve soil health and protect the environment.  Conservation staff from agencies such as the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Soil and Water Conservation Districts were also interviewed to get their perspectives.


The report summarized the findings in 10 specific recommendations to conservation agencies to better tailor their cost-share programs and educational materials to the needs of local producers.  The 10 recommendations are as follows:


Water Quality

1. Educate farmers on the actual proportion of the water quality issue that is coming from agriculture. Use data from recent scientific studies and create a brochure or half-page bill with the information.

2. Create a list of downstream water impairments (include environmental and economic impacts) that are a direct result of agricultural activity in the Salamonie-Wabash-Mississippi River basins.

Cover Crops

3. The financial benefits of cover crops need to be clarified and emphasized. Conservation staff should present a clear and consistent message regarding the relationship between cover crops and profitability over time.

4. Address the issue of the timing of cover crop seeding by networking producers with those who provide flying- on services and those who currently own and operate high-boy seeders.

5. Strategically allocate cost-share funds to longer-term contracts (3-5 years) on smaller acreages.

6. Connect approved cover crop cost-share recipients with an experienced adopter who can advise, trouble shoot, and make sense of setbacks.

Reduced/ No-till

7. Increase no-till outreach emphasis on erosion control, reduced input costs and decreased field preparation time.

8. Conservation staff need data-driven evidence for the financial benefits of no-till. What is especially needed is locally derived data that demonstrates the impact of no-till on input costs and yields over time.


9. Reach out and formally engage with the region’s agricultural retail sector. Include key trusted crop advisors from each county on the steering committees of the LSRWP and USRWP.

10. Take advantage of changing technologies and prices for inputs and grains to promote the input cost reduction aspects of no-till and cover crops.


Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)
EQIP provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers in order to address natural resource concerns and deliver environmental benefits such as improved water and air quality, conserved ground and surface water, reduced soil erosion and sedimentation or improved or created wildlife habitat.

2021 Annual Report

Wesley Slain-NRCS District Conservationist for Delaware and Blackford Counties
765-747-5531 x3,

Grazing PracticesReceived multiple applications for a variety of grazing practices, Pipeline, Heavy Use Pad, Interior Fence, converting cropland to hayThese practices help producers create paddocks to rotate animals throughout the growing season.
Comprehensive Nutrient Management PlanReceived application for CNMPPrecursor for manure storage facilityEvaluates farm for current nutrient levels, and amount of manure/bedding that will be generated for 6 months storage
Manure Storage BuildingsReceived applications for four separate manure storage facilitiesThese buildings allow producers to store manure from their operation under a roof so that it does not runoff site and can be spread when ground conditions are conducive.
Cover CropsReceived multiple applications totaling 8,779 acresCover crops help protect the soil surface during winter, the roots help sequester nutrients and improve soil health.
No-till/Strip tillReceived multiple applications totaling 13,869 acresNo-till(also known as never-till) leaves the residues from the prior crop on the soil surfaceStrip tillage is a system that uses limited tillage in the seed zone, while leaving the rest of a field in no-till. 
Invasive Specie Removal/Tree PlantingReceived multiple applications for 136 acres of invasive species removal in existing woods and five acres hardwood tree plantingRemoving invasive species from woods will ensure the future of native species and increase the growth rate of existing trees
Waterways/WASCOB’sReceived multiple applications for six WASCOB’s and 8.5 acres of waterwaysWaterways and WASCOB’s help control active gulley erosion in agriculture fields
High TunnelReceived application for a high tunnelHigh tunnels allow producers to begin the season earlier and extend the season later into the year.
Drainage Water ManagementReceived multiple applications for the management of 48 acres of croplandProcess of managing the timing and the amount of water discharged from agricultural drainage systems. Retain water in fields that could be used for crop production later in the season.
Agrichemical Handling FacilityReceived application for Agrichemical Handling FacilityFacility with an impervious surface to provide an environmentally safe area for the handling of on-farm agrichemicalsStore, mix, load agrichemicals. Retain incidental spillage or leakage.