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News Release

USDA NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) Sign-Up for Belle Fourche Irrigation District Project Area

September 14, 2020

Victor Tuschen
Phone: (605) 892-3368 Ext 3,
Belle Fourche Irrigation District Irrigation and Soil Health
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 Belle Fourche Irrigation District Irrigation and Soil Health will soon be underway in Butte 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 improve irrigation efficiency and soil health and will be carried out by the Belle Fourche Irrigation District 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 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 Belle Fourche Irrigation District Irrigation and Soil Health Project partners with NRCS to directly benefit water quality in the Belle Fourche River” explains Vander Wilt.

Project sponsors identified water quality and quantity as resource concerns and developed this CIS project to address the situation. “This initiative was developed by multiple partners to increase irrigation water efficiency in the Belle Fourche Irrigation District, which will also increase water reserves in Orman Dam for recreation” says Justin Boerboom, Resource Unit Conservationist, Sturgis Field Office.

To learn more about this project, please contact Victor Tuschen, District Conservationist, at or (605) 892-3368, 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.