The Indiana office of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) this week received more funding to help drought-affected producer conservation efforts. Teresah Caire, Assistant State Conservationist for Farm Bill Programs said the funding helps in several different areas.
“We were able to obtain the Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program or WHIP funds to assist our producers here in the state with those negative impacts on the wildlife habitat and also the negative conditions for forage, nesting habitat, and watering sources for wildlife, as well as livestock,” she told HAT.
To date over 1,200 applications have been received since the initial $3.5 million was announced in early August.
“With those first dollars we received we have been able to fund almost 270 contracts. So we’ve helped folks with contracts on 270 of those applications, the highest ranking ones with the most negative impacts where funding in turn would give us the most positive environmental benefit.”
With an another $1.85 million added in late August and this week, Caire says they’ll go back to the applications and select additional recipients, although she encourages new applications at any time.
“As this drought continues to impact American farming and ranching families, USDA will be there to help our agriculture sector recover,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “This additional assistance builds on a number of steps USDA and other federal agencies have taken over the past few months to provide resources and flexibility in our existing programs to help producers endure these hardships.”
In all 22 states have received financial and technical assistance to help crop and livestock producers apply conservation practices that reduce the impacts of drought and improve soil health and productivity. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provides this assistance through both WHIP and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).
Funding from NRCS targets states that are experiencing either exceptional or extreme drought conditions. Producers and landowners are encouraged to visit the NRCS website or stop by their local NRCS office to find out if they are eligible for this new funding.[audio:https://www.hoosieragtoday.com//wp-content/uploads//2012/09/Indiana-NRCS-receives-more-drought-assistance.mp3|titles=Indiana NRCS receives more drought assistance]Hear the complete statement from Teresah Caire about the WHIP funding:[audio:https://www.hoosieragtoday.com//wp-content/uploads//2012/09/Teresah-Caire-explains-Indiana-WHIP-funding.mp3|titles=Teresah Caire explains Indiana WHIP funding]