Agricultural Water Enhancement Program
Sign-up ended Sept. 1, 2009, and contracts must be signed by Sept. 4, 2009.
The Agricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP) is a voluntary conservation initiative that provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers to implement agricultural water enhancement activities on agricultural land for the purposes of conserving surface and ground water and improving water quality. As part of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), AWEP operates through contracts with producers to plan and implement conservation practices in project areas established through partnership agreements.
Under AWEP, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) enters into partnership agreements with eligible entities that want to promote ground and surface water conservation or improve water quality on agricultural lands. The Secretary of Agriculture has delegated the authority for AWEP to the NRCS Chief.
During fiscal year 2009, NRCS will make AWEP funds available to owners and operators of agricultural lands who participate in approved AWEP project areas.
As authorized by Congress, this is not a grant program to eligible partners. This is a program whereby approved, eligible partners will enter into multi-year agreements with NRCS to promote ground and surface water conservation, or improve water quality on eligible agricultural lands.
The intent of AWEP is for the Federal government to leverage investment in natural resources conservation along with services and resources of other eligible partners. Individual producers are not eligible to submit a partnership proposal.
The 2008 Farm Bill provides $73 million for fiscal year 2009, $73 million for fiscal year 2010, $74 million for fiscal year 2011, and $60 million for fiscal year 2012 and each year thereafter for AWEP.
The amount of financial assistance provided to approved projects will change every fiscal year depending upon appropriations and agency priorities. Agricultural producers in selected project areas may apply for available AWEP funds at their local United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) service center. Once an application is selected, an eligible agricultural producer will enter into a contract with NRCS to implement approved conservation practices. Through these EQIP program contracts, NRCS provides payments to agricultural producers for implementing conservation practices.
Information on the 2009 program specific to Arkansas
Who is Eligible?
Environmental Quality Incentives Program eligible landowners and farmers. Farmers who are not the landowner are eligible but must show they have control of the land by lease or other arrangement as specified in Section 512.21 of the Conservation Program Contracting Manual of 440-V-CPM.
What is the Geographic Area Covered?
All of Lonoke, Arkansas and Prairie counties are covered; also that part of Monroe County west of the White River and that part of Jefferson County north of the Arkansas River.
Where and when do I sign up?
Sign up immediately at the local USDA office that services your area. Sign-up ends Sept. 1, and contracts must be signed by Sept. 4, 2009.
Last Modified: 02/25/2011