The U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Kansas will provide approximately $2.5 million in fiscal year (FY) 2014 to conserve the water in the Ogallala Aquifer through the Ogallala Aquifer Initiative (OAI). Applications are accepted on a continuous basis; however, to be considered for FY2014 funds, the application cutoff date is March 21, 2014. The NRCS will fund this initiative through its Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).
“The Ogallala Aquifer Initiative allows agriculture producers to implement conservation practices such as irrigation water management, crop rotations, and replacing inefficient gravity irrigation systems,” said Eric B. Banks, State Conservationist for NRCS. “These conservation practices directly benefit the water quality and water quantity issues in this aquifer.”
Much of the High Plains region relies on the Ogallala for water but the water in the Ogallala Aquifer is diminishing because of widespread irrigation use in the High Plains states.
The Ogallala Aquifer, also known as the High Plains Aquifer, is a vast, yet shallow underground water table aquifer located beneath the Great Plains in the United States. It is one of the world’s largest aquifers and covers an area in portions of eight states: Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming.
Financial assistance is available through the OAI for producers considering converting from irrigated cropland to dryland cropland, as well as assistance for more efficient irrigation systems and management. All applicants must meet EQIP eligibility requirements. In Kansas, socially disadvantaged, limited resource, and beginning farmers and ranchers will receive a higher payment rate for conservation practices implemented through the OAI.
For more information visit the Kansas NRCS web page at www.ks.nrcs.usda.gov or contact your local USDA Service Center (listed in the telephone book under United States Government or on the internet at offices.usda.gov). Follow us on Twitter @NRCS_Kansas. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.