Farmers and ranchers in the northeastern part of North Dakota have new conservation program dollars available. Producers may be eligible for help to integrate cattle on cropped land. Thanks to a grant from the North Dakota Outdoor Heritage Fund, Ducks Unlimited is expanding the Cover Crop and Livestock Integration Project (CCLIP) program that offers producers cost-share for grazing infrastructure, watering systems and cover crops.

DU Biologist Robert Ford will be based in Devils Lake to work with landowners and public partners to address resource concerns and promote current conservation programs in the Devils Lake region. Currently, there is funding to assist with grassland planting, wetland restoration, cover crops, livestock water and grazing infrastructure, and technical assistance. Ford will help producers evaluate what programs might fit their operations.

Implementing these practices will help improve soil health, water quality and grassland health, as well as provide benefits for wildlife. he said. Cover crops can restore soil organic matter, increase soil porosity and water infiltration, while reducing runoff.

Ford grew up in the state of Michigan and has worked for several state agencies, most recently with the North Dakota Game &Fish Department (NDGF).

It was during my time with NDGF that I became dedicated to conserving the wetland and grassland ecosystems of North Dakota, he said.

Ford will be joined in Devils Lake by his wife, Scerria, and their four children, ages 10, 6, and two-year-old twins.

For more information, contact Ford at or 701-230-2141 (cell).