NRCS has the science-based solutions and technical experts on the ground today to help farmers and ranchers through this drought and to prepare our country for weather events in the future. NRCS offers technical and financial assistance to farmers and ranchers to cope with drought across the nation.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack joined President Barack Obama in Fresno, Calif. on Feb. 14 to announce that USDA will provide additional assistance to help farmers, ranchers and residents affected by severe drought in California. Read more.
On a recent trip to California, I had the pleasure meeting several farm families who are impacted by the state’s worsening drought. Both stops gave me a first-hand view of the challenges these farmers face. We discussed how USDA can further help them with available resources. While the discussion centered on concerns over water supply, I was heartened to see that the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s recommended conservation practices have helped them better prepare for the state’s historic water shortage. Read more.
The Environmental Quality Incentives Program is a voluntary program that provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers to address natural resource concerns on agricultural and forest land. Conservation plans will emphasize improving each soil’s capacity to be more drought-resilient. Particular conservation practices that will be employed include residue management practices, such as mulch till, no-till, cover crops, mulching and crop rotation.
NRCS will work closely with producers to ensure successful implementation of planned conservation practices. Where conservation activities have failed because of drought, NRCS will look for opportunities to work with farmers and ranchers to re-apply those activities.
The Emergency Watershed Protection Program helps communities address hazardous watershed impairments. EWP can be used to re-seed drought stricken areas that would be prone to erosion and could potentially pose a threat to life or property.
The National Water and Climate Center is the technical and program lead for the Snow Survey and Water Supply Forecasting Program, operates the Soil Climate Analysis Network (SCAN), and provides critical climate data, tools and products in support of conservation activities throughout the US. The staff publish water supply forecasts throughout the Western US, serve as technical specialists on issues of drought, soil moisture and climate change, and provide database operations and management for snow pack, water supply and climate data.
The Drought Calculator was developed to help ranchers and other rangeland managers assess the impacts of drought on forage production, enabling them to make better informed decisions as to alternative drought strategies.
TheOgallala Aquifer Initiative aims to reduce aquifer water use, improve water quality and enhance the economic viability of croplands and rangelands in Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, New Mexico, Texas, South Dakota and Wyoming.