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News Release

Twenty-One States Targeted for Drought Relief Financial and Technical Assistance

WASHINGTON, Aug. 8, 2012—Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA will target nearly $16 million in financial and technical assistance to help eligible crop and livestock producers in 21 states cope with adverse impacts of the historic drought gripping the nation. States will have the option to hold special signups for producers interested in applying conservation practices that will alleviate the drought’s impacts, and improve soil health and productivity.

"President Obama and I continue to work across the federal government to provide relief for those farmers and ranchers who are affected by the severe drought conditions impacting many states across our nation," Vilsack said. "This additional assistance builds on a number of steps USDA has taken over the past few weeks to provide resources and flexibility in our existing programs to help producers endure these serious hardships."

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will use $16 million in existing funds from its Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP) and Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) to target states experiencing exceptional and extreme drought. The states with exceptional, or the most severe, drought are Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky and Nebraska. States experiencing extreme drought are Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, Nevada, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin. Learn more about the NRCS drought assistance that each state has received.

NRCS state conservationists will announce special signups for WHIP and EQIP funds which will allow eligible producers to apply for selected conservation practices. These practices include prescribed grazing, livestock watering facilities and water conservation practices. Eligible producers also can re-apply for financial assistance to re-apply failed conservation practices due to drought and modify existing contracts to re-schedule planned conservation practices.

USDA has also announced the following:

  • Allowing producers to modify current EQIP contracts to allow for grazing, livestock watering, and other conservation activities to address drought conditions.
  • Authorizing haying and grazing of Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) easement areas in drought-affected areas where haying and grazing is consistent with conservation of wildlife habitat and wetlands. 

For more information, producers and landowners can visit the NRCS website or their local NRCS office.

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