||Farm bill funding is currently the largest source of private landowner funding available for establishing native grasses. Since 1998, more than 60,000 acres of native grass have been established in Kentucky through farm bill programs. Through partnership, increased financial and technical assistance, staffing, education, and equipment have been key to improving acceptance and utilization of native grass as conservation cover, forage, and wildlife cover
through farm bill programs. Active partner participation on the NRCS State Technical Committee and program subcommittees has also facilitated incorporation of native grass into all possible programs. A brief history of native grass use by program will be covered.
Also discussed will be the technical evolution of native grass plantings in Kentucky through farm bill programs. Initially, many plantings were slow to establish, with some failures due to unsuitable planting equipment or equipment operation, poor seedbed preparation, and/or competition control. Through training and improved planting equipment, and with the advent of increased herbicide options, native grass planting success has greatly improved. Today, due to such success in establishing native grasses, we are looking at options to slow grass establishment, improve stand diversity, and set back succession to improve habitat. Prescribed
burning, strip discing, herbicide applications, and lower grass seeding rates with increased forb rates are successfully being used to improve stand diversity and set back succession of native
grass stands established through farm bill programs.