U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) continues to work to provide as much relief to drought-impacted producers as possible. NRCS State Conservationist Eric B. Banks announced the agency will assist producers through a new Drought Recovery Initiative. NRCS will use two application cutoff dates for the initiative: May 17 and June 21, 2013.
“We know farmers and ranchers around the state have been hit hard by the drought,” said Banks. The drought has caused serious degradation to many natural resources in Kansas including wildlife, wildlife cover, livestock forage, livestock water, and soil quality. The Drought Recovery Initiative will be supported through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and may be a source of assistance to mitigate the short-term or long-term effects of drought.
Livestock producers have been especially hard hit and NRCS has grazing specialists that provide recommendations about range and pasture management and options to consider for forage and water management. “It’s important for producers to have a contingency plan which addresses drought in ways such as deferred or rotational grazing, alternative water sources, combining herds, or possibly reducing livestock numbers,” said Banks. Conservation plans can include decisions made which address the impacts of drought, or better yet, alternatives to prepare land for drought when climatic conditions are favorable.
EQIP offers financial and technical assistance to eligible participants to install or implement structural and management practices on eligible agricultural land. Conservation practices must be implemented to NRCS standards and specifications. In Kansas, socially disadvantaged, limited resource, and beginning farmers and ranchers will receive a higher payment rate for eligible conservation practices applied.
Additional information about drought resources is located on the Kansas NRCS drought Web site at www.ks.nrcs.usda.gov/technical/drought/index.html or stop by your local USDA Service Center and visit the NRCS office. To find a service center near you, check your 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.