Deadline to apply for certain drought-related funds fast approaching
February 25, 2014
• March 3 is last day
• Getting help to protect parched landscapes and stretch scarce water
California farmers and ranchers have until March 3 to apply for part of some $25 million in drought-related conservation assistance being made available by the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Farmers and ranchers should consult with their local NRCS offices as soon as possible to apply for assistance, the agency says.
NRCS California can help farmers and ranchers understand the options for their particular water situation, soil type and production goals and develop a plan to get through the current drought. Soil conservation practices for fallow land include cover crops, residue management, mulching and other complimentary practices.
To help ranchers suffering from drought conditions, NRCS says it can offer practices such as livestock well development, piping, troughs, and fencing. For some ranchers, this may allow livestock to take advantage of available grass while protecting vulnerable ranch resources.
Finally, for farmers who have access to water and want to make every drop count, NRCS says it can provide improved irrigation hardware with an irrigation management plan to optimize efficiency.
USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced $20 million in drought assistance through NRCS’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program on Feb. 4 and President Barak Obama enlarged the conservation cost share assistance to $25 million during his Central Valley visit on Feb. 14. The program is strictly voluntary and producers share in the cost of the work.