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NRCS has funds for farm conservation projects

Through Farm Bill legislation, Congress has authorized the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to administer several farm conservation programs that provide financial and technical assistance to farmers who voluntarily address soil, water and related natural resource concerns on their private lands.

Utah agricultural landowners and operators are encouraged to submit applications by January 18 to NRCS for participation in the following national initiatives: sage-grouse, high tunnels, organics, and on-farm energy.

Funding for these initiatives comes through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

Another conservation program available to Utah farmers is the Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP). Operating under WHIP, the recently announced Working Lands for Wildlife initiative is focused on recovery of habitat for sage-grouse, southwestern willow flycatcher, and the black-footed ferret.

Also, the Agricultural Management Assistance (AMA) program provides assistance in establishing high tunnels (hoop houses) to prolong the growing season and protect crops.

These programs are offered through a continuous signup but NRCS periodically establishes ranking and batching deadlines to utilize the funding as it is made available. The current deadline for all of the above mentioned programs is January 18.

Examples of conservation programs that can address water resource concerns are irrigation land leveling, installing sprinkler systems and ditch lining. Healthy plant populations can be maintained by installing such practices as tree and shrub plantings and prescribed grazing. Other practices are approved to help protect animal, wildlife, air, energy, and soil resources.

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