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News Release

Conservation Program Protect and Improves Wildlife Habitat on Private Lands

Columbia, January 10, 2014-- State Conservationist Ann English announced that February 21, 2014, is the deadline to apply for assistance through the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP). Eligible counties include those that are not currently in South Carolina’s longleaf pine habitat priority area. Landowners in the counties of Abbeville, Anderson, Chester, Cherokee, Fairfield, Greenville, Greenwood, Lancaster, Laurens, McCormick, Newberry, Oconee, Pickens, Spartanburg, Union, and York are encouraged to apply.

WHIP enables the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to provide financial and technical assistance to assists landowners who want to improve wildlife habitat or restore natural ecosystems on their land. WHIP is a voluntary program for conservation-minded landowners who want to develop and improve wildlife habitat on agricultural land, nonindustrial private forest land, and Indian land.

NRCS administers WHIP to provide both technical and financial assistance to establish and improve fish and wildlife habitat. WHIP cost-share agreements between NRCS and the participant generally last from one year after the last conservation practice is implemented but not more than 10 years from the date the agreement is signed. Through reimbursement, NRCS will provide financial assistance to install conservation practices for permanent, priority fish and wildlife habitat. Participants are expected to maintain cost-shared conservation practices for the expected lifespan of the conservation practice.

There is a continuous signup for this program; however, to increase your chances of funding, apply by February 21, 2014. Producers interested in applying should visit their local USDA Service Center as soon as possible to prepare their applications.

Visit www.sc.nrcs.usda.gov for more information, including eligibility requirements.