USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service is offering a special Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) sign-up for farmers in governor-declared counties in Kansas who could not plant their crops because of flooded or wet fields, including Barton County. The deadline to apply is July 26.
This sign-up provides technical and financial assistance to help farmers plant cover crops, an alternative to letting fields go fallow and uncovered, said Ron Klein, NRCS supervisory district conservationist based in Great Bend.
Excessive moisture and flooding in 2019 have prevented or delayed planting on many farms across the country, Klein said. Many producers are unable to plant crops by a final planting date or have experienced significant delays in planting.
Fields that are saturated for an extended period can lose important soil organisms. Cover crop roots add organic matter and create pathways for air and water to move through the soil, which is key to restoring its health.
“Cover crops help farmers to manage soil erosion, weeds, and pests and to improve soil health,” said Karen A. Woodrich , NRCS state conservationist in Kansas. “They can also help your soil health recover after a flood or a long period of remaining wet.”
To apply for this special EQIP funding, contact the local NRCS office at 620-792-5329, extension 3.
Other USDA programs
Farmers with prevented planting coverage through USDA-administered crop insurance can hay, graze, or chop a cover crop. USDA’s Risk Management Agency adjusted the final haying and grazing date from Nov. 1 to Sept. 1 to help farmers who were prevented from planting or delayed in planting due to flooding and excessive rainfall.
USDA offers a disaster assistance discovery tool that walks producers through five questions to help them identify personalized results of what USDA disaster assistance programs meet their needs. For more information on disaster assistance programs, contact the USDA service center or farmers.gov/prevented-planting.