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News Release

NRCS to Invest $22,774,000 for California Producers in Drought-Impacted Areas

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New Conservation Incentive Contract Option Now Available in California

DAVIS, Calif., June 10, 2021 – In response to historic drought conditions, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in California is offering $22,774,000 through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). California is one of only four states in the nation to pilot this important program to help agricultural producers, including Tribes, alleviate the immediate impacts of drought and other natural resource challenges on working lands. NRCS will make available this funding through Conservation Incentive Contracts, a new option available through EQIP.

Signup for this targeted funding begins today, and NRCS will accept applications through July 12, 2021. You may find your local office or download an application here.

Through this EQIP pilot, NRCS will offer conservation practices that help producers recover from the impacts of drought while building resiliency. These practices provide other key benefits, including mitigating impacts from climate change and reducing the risk and threat from wildfire. This includes funding specifically for California eligible landowners in Klamath Basin as well as special funding for California Tribes to address fire management, drought impacts, and other tribal resource concerns.

“We are excited to be one of the pilot states receiving additional funds to support our farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners in drought resiliency,” said Carlos Suarez, NRCS State Conservationist in California. “Our technical staff stands ready to help you with a personalize approach to address your greatest conservation needs this summer, and preparing for the long-term.  Contact your nearest NRCS office to apply for assistance to address drought, wildfire, climate smart agriculture, and pollinators.”

Conservation Incentive Contracts
While Conservation Incentive Contracts are available in only a few select states in fiscal year 2021, NRCS will roll out this opportunity nationwide in fiscal year 2022, using this pilot to refine implementation of this new option.

The 2018 Farm Bill created the new Conservation Incentive Contracts option to address high-priority conservation and natural resources concerns, including drought. Through 5-year contracts, producers manage, maintain and address important natural resource concerns and build on existing conservation efforts.

Conservation Incentive Contracts offer conservation activities that producers implement to address resource concerns. 

Through this pilot program, NRCS California has $22,774,000 for drought-related conservation practices. Practices include forest management plans, tree/shrub establishment, brush management, prescribed grazing, pasture and hay planting, wildlife habitat, livestock watering systems, and cover crops.

How to Apply
To learn more about Conservation Incentive Contracts, visit the EQIP webpage. Producers in California who are interested in this targeted funding should apply by July 12, 2021 by contacting their local USDA Service Center

While USDA offices may be closed to visitors because of the pandemic, Service Center staff continue to work with agricultural producers via phone, email, and other digital tools. To conduct business, please contact your local USDA Service Center. Contact information can be found at farmers.gov/service-locator.

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