News Releases




The District’s cost-share policy encourages more effective windbreaks for energy savings, wind reduction, snow deposition and wildlife cover.  One half of the rows should be evergreens, but a row of shrubs may be substituted for a row of evergreens.  Species cannot be double rowed.  The district will provide cost-share on ONE row of Colorado blue spruce.  There is no cost-share on all varieties of lilac, Amur maple, Scotch pine, Austrian pine, and green ash. 

The cost-share rate is 75% from REAP funds.  The maximum total cost per plant the District will cost-share on is $30 for evergreens, $20 for broadleaf trees and $10 for shrubs.  You may purchase higher priced windbreak stock, but the District will not cost-share above these prices. Trees can be purchased at any nursery.  There is no cost-share on labor or rented equipment.  The minimum cost-share payment which can be received is received is $100 and the maximum cost-share payment is $1,500.                       

All windbreaks must be planted according to your windbreak plan.  Any changes must receive prior approval before planting.  Trees must be ordered by March 1 and planted by May 15.  Bills must be in the office and all cost-share forms must be signed by June 1.  Bills must be an original (no copies or faxes) and contain only trees and shrubs listed on the windbreak plan.

Weed control is mandatory and part of your maintenance agreement for cost-share.  The windbreak must be kept black for three years.  It is recommended that you spread mulch material such as wood chips in a 3-4 foot wide radius around the tree at a depth of 3-6 inches.  This will reduce weed competition, and reduce the potential of mower damage to the trunk.  Avoid having the mulch in direct contact with the trunk. 


Within the row spacing between trees should not exceed 20 ft.

Within the row spacing between shrubs should be 4 ft. to 6 ft.

Between the row spacing should be 15 ft. to 20 ft.

 LIVESTOCK EXCLUSION   Keep all livestock out of the windbreak.  All manure runoff must be diverted from the windbreak.

 WATERING  Newly planted trees must be watered a minimum of one year after planting.  Water needs of a tree depend on rainfall and soil conditions.  In general, a newly planted tree requires one inch of   moisture every 7-10 days.  If an inch of rain has not been received in a 2 week period, water each tree 3 to 5 gallons.  In the fall, continue watering until the soil freezes.   Over watering (every day) can actually kill a tree.

 MISCELLANEOUS  Never seed a sod forming grass such as bluegrass or brome grass.  It is recommended to seed the windbreak to Timothy grass at 4 lbs. per acre.  It is recommended to remove old trees and fall plow prior to the spring planting of your windbreak.


The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in its programs on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age disability, political beliefs and marital or familial status.  (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.)  Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact the USDA Office of Communications at (202) 720-5881 (voice) or (202) 720-7808 (TDD).



The Mississippi River Basin Initiative (MRBI) signup is taking place from now through March 15 for landowners and farm operators who farm land in the West Branch Floyd watershed area.  The West Branch Floyd watershed area is an area of approximately 78,000 square miles in the middle of the county.  Orange City is on the eastern edge of the watershed and Sioux Center is on the western edge of the watershed.  The town of Middleburg is near the northern edge of the watershed, and the southern edge of the watershed is near the Plymouth county line south of Maurice.

Some of the conservation practices that are being paid through this project include terraces, grassed waterways, cover crops, no-till and strip till farming, saturated buffers and denitrifying bioreactors. The payment rates are based on 75% of the estimated incurred costs associated with practice implementation, instead of the typical 50% that is offered.  For instance, broadbase terraces typically cost $2.30 per foot to build in Sioux county.  The MRBI would pay $2.06 per foot for broadbase terrace construction, or almost 90% of the estimated cost of terrace construction.  Narrowbase terraces typically cost $1.90 per foot to build in Sioux county.  The RCPP would pay $1.69 per foot for narrowbase construction, or almost 90% of the estimated cost of terrace construction.

Cover crop payment rates for the MRBI are approximately $50/acre for winter hardy cover crops such as cereal rye.  For a winter kill species such as oats, the payment rates are approximately $28/acre.  The payment rate for no-till and strip-till farming is $16/acre.  Incentive payments for management practices such as cover crops and no-till can be made for up to 3 years.

Saturated buffers and denitrifying bioreactors would be 100% cost-share using a combination of MRBI funds and other funding sources.

The signup deadline for interested participants is March 15.  Funding decisions will be made in April.  Applications that include multiple conservation practices and treat multiple resource concerns would likely have a better chance of getting approved. If approved for funding, practice implementation would begin in the summer or fall of 2019.  If you have any questions about the MRBI program, please feel free to contact the Orange City NRCS office at 737-2253.