The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in
will provide approximately $1.5 million to conserve the water in the Ogallala Aquifer through the Ogallala Aquifer Initiative (OAI). Applications are accepted on a continuous basis; however, to be considered for fiscal year 2013 funds, the application cutoff date is February 15, 2013. The NRCS will fund this initiative through its Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).
“Water quantity is a high priority resource concern under EQIP in
,” said Eric B. Banks, State Conservationist for NRCS. “Agriculture producers have the opportunity with the additional funding to implement water-saving practices. This allows them to implement conservation practices such as irrigation water management, crop rotations, and replacing inefficient gravity irrigation systems.”
Much of the High Plains region relies on the Ogallala for water but the water in the Ogallala Aquifer is diminishing because of widespread irrigation use in the High Plains states.
The Ogallala Aquifer, also known as the High Plains Aquifer, is a vast, yet shallow underground water table aquifer located beneath the Great Plains in the
. It is one of the world’s largest aquifers and covers an area in portions of eight states: United States Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wyoming, and .
Financial assistance is available through the OAI for producers considering converting from irrigated cropland to dryland cropland, as well as assistance for more efficient irrigation systems and management. All participants must meet EQIP eligibility requirements. In
, socially disadvantaged, limited resource, and beginning farmers and ranchers will receive a higher payment rate for conservation practices related to OAI.
To sign an application for OAI stop by your local
and visit with the NRCS staff. For more information about OAI and other natural resources conservation programs, please contact your local NRCS office or conservation district office. The office is located at your local USDA Service Center (listed in the telephone book under United States Government or on the internet atoffices.usda.gov). More information is also available on the Kansas Web site at www.ks.nrcs.usda.gov. USDA Service Center