High Priority Areas Identified for NRCS California Drought Assistance

Brian German Agri-Business, USDA-NRCS

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has identified six high-priority areas for drought assistance. The assistance is obtainable through NRCS’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) along with the pilot program, EQIP-Conservation Incentive Contracts (EQIP-CIC). Applications for EQIP-CIC will be accepted through Monday, July 12. NRCS is continuing to assess resource concerns by engaging with landowners, various agencies, and Tribal representatives.

drought assistance

“Although we still have CDC coronavirus related health precautions in place for the safety of our customers and employees, we strongly encourage you to call the nearest office and schedule an appointment,” NRCS California state conservationist Carlos Suarez said in a news release. “Our field conservationists are available to assess your resource concerns and we have a variety of conservation practices and programs to help agricultural producers.”

NRCS recently announced the determination of six high-priority areas for California drought assistance. An emphasis is being placed on statewide cropland, range, pasture, and forest lands. Additional focus is also being given to cropland in the Klamath Basin and San Joaquin Valley. Cropland, range, pasture, and forest lands in Tribal lands throughout the state have also been identified as high priority areas. EQIP-CIC provides long-term support for farmers and ranchers to assist with implementing practices to address drought.

NRCS representatives are available to assist with the development of plans for conservation improvements. The NRCS California drought assistance provides reimbursement for practices such as mulching, cover crops, and decreased tillage.  Reimbursement is also available for the planting of trees, shrubs, and grasses to improve pollinator habitat. Implementing conservation practices to reduce wildfire risk including brush management, fuel breaks, and woody residue treatments also qualify for assistance. EQIP-CIC assistance also offers landowners an opportunity to improve irrigation efficiency. Implementing new irrigation scheduling technology to decrease water and energy use would be eligible for support under the new pilot program.

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West