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News Release

Strong Farmer Interest in Water and Air Conservation Programs

Anita Brown (530) 792-5644
Eric Peitz (760) 355-2208 x 106                                                                                      

But NRCS Continues to Encourage Potential Applicants

IMPERIAL, Calif., May 31, 2019—Eric Peitz and his team at the conservation office in Imperial are pleased with the interest from farmers so far this season. But the team wants to encourage all farmers in the region to know about opportunities to get conservation plans and contracts this year to improve local air and water quality.

 “We have 83 applications so far, which is significantly ahead of recent years,” says Peitz. “There is plenty of work to do and it looks like there are plenty of farmers willing to tackle it—and that’s great.”

The current application ranking deadline ends on June 14, 2019. Peitz says any unfunded applications will automatically be rolled over for consideration in future funding cycles.

Like all NRCS offices statewide, the office in Imperial offers farmers and ranchers conservation technical assistance, planning and the potential for financial assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).  Additionally, Imperial area farmers have a secure pot of approximately $4.3 million in EQIP-RCPP funds to invest in improving air, water quality and habitat conditions associated with rehabilitating the Salton Sea. These funds come through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) and are scheduled to end in 2020 however a one-year extension request is currently in progress to extend funds through 2021.

“We realize there is a lot of interest in protecting air and water quality and we offer some great practices that helps farmers with those goals,” says Peitz. Conservationists encourage growers to bundle efficient micro-irrigation systems and management with cultural practices like cover crops, rotation and nutrient management. Putting on just enough water and fertilizer for the crop, is key says Peitz. Adding cover crops helps reduce wind erosion and add soil organic matter.

Also popular in Imperial County is the National Air Quality Initiative the Agency offers. It helps farmers replace older, more polluting tractors and farm equipment with newer, cleaner engines.

A new Farm Bill was signed into law on Dec. 20, 2018. This means that farmers are beginning with a “clean slate” in terms of conservation funding, which cannot exceed $450,000 over the life of a Farm Bill. Visit the local NRCS office at 2407 Marshall Ave., Suite E in Imperial. Call 760-355-2208 to make an appointment.