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News Release

USDA NRCS' Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) Sign-Up for Cedar Control on Native Grasslands Project

September 14, 2020

Chelsey Beringer
Phone: (605) 487- 7501,
Cedar Control on Native Grasslands
Conservation Implementation Strategy (CIS) Project 
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

NATURAL RESOURCES CONSERVATION SERVICE (NRCS), Huron, S.D., September 14, 2020 – The Conservation Implementation Strategy (CIS) Project Cedar Control on Native Grasslands will soon be underway in Charles Mix County, South Dakota (SD), serving farmers and ranchers, the community, and improving land quality. This 5-year project is one of 16 selected in Fiscal Year 2020 and federally-funded through the conservation programs of the 2018 Farm Bill administered by the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).  

The purpose of this 5-year project is to control cedar encroachment and will be carried out by the Charles Mix Conservation District (CD) in concert with landowners and operators within the project area. Farmers and ranchers in the project area are eligible to apply for financial assistance and must submit an application by October 16, 2020, for implementation beginning in 2021.

The NRCS conservation specialists and partners who are coordinating these CIS projects throughout the state. “Through collectively focusing expertise and resources on the highest priority resource concerns in the highest priority areas, CIS projects can yield the most impressive returns,” says Jeff Vander Wilt, Assistant State Conservationist for Programs, Huron, who oversees the effort. “Collaborative funding and support from other agencies and groups create a coordinated community effort and focuses on mutual issues of the highest priority. The Cedar Control on Native Grasslands Project partners with the Charles Mix CD to directly benefit landowners.” explains Vander Wilt.

Project sponsors identified cedar encroachment as a resource concern and developed this CIS project to address the situation. “Historically, the Missouri River hills were well-vegetated grasslands shaped by fire but the removal of fire from this landscape left it vulnerable to Eastern Red Cedar encroachment. Our project aims to utilize mechanical shredding and prescribed burning as two main methods to control cedar encroachment and restore the river hill grasslands.” says Alex Petrik, Charles Mix CD, Lake Andes, SD.

To learn more about this project, contact Chelsey Beringer, District Conservationist, at or (605) 487-7501 Ext. 3. For more information on the CIS in SD or if you have ideas for a project, contact Jeff Vander Wilt, Assistant State Conservationist for Programs, at or (605) 352-1226, or visit the CIS page under Farm Bill Programs on our SD NRCS Web site

Specialists with the USDA NRCS are working providing one-on-one advice and are available by phone or e-mail while taking safety measures in response to COVID-19. To apply for financial assistance, please contact your local NRCS office. Farmers and ranchers can now start making in-person appointments at several USDA Service Centers across the country as part of USDA’s phased reopening process. Other USDA Service Centers remain open for business by phone appointment only.