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News Release

Ogallala Aquifer Initiative Application Cutoff Date

2012 February 24, 2012

Salina, Kansas, February 7, 2012--The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Kansas will provide approximately $2 million to conserve the water in the Ogallala Aquifer through the Ogallala Aquifer Initiative (OAI). The application cutoff date is February 24, 2012, to be considered for fiscal year 2012 funds. The NRCS will fund this initiative through its Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

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, which include Colorado, South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Texas.

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.

“In Kansas, water quantity and quality is a high priority resource concern under EQIP,” said Eric B. Banks, State Conservationist for NRCS in Kansas. “The additional funding will allow the opportunity for agriculture producers to address these concerns, by implementing conservation practices such as irrigation water management, crop rotations, and replacing inefficient gravity irrigation systems.”

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 participants 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 related to OAI.

EQIP Sign-up Information

To sign an application for OAI stop by your local USDA Service Center and visit with the NRCS staff. For more information about OAI and other natural resources conservation programs, please contact your local NRCS office or conservation district office. The office is located at your local USDA Service Center (listed in the telephone book under United States Government or on the internet at offices.usda.gov). More information is also available on the Kansas Web site at www.ks.nrcs.usda.gov. Follow us on Twitter @NRCS_Kansas. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

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Map - Ogallala Aquifer Initiative Priority Areas (PDF; 308 KB)