The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

January 26, 2013

Help available for ag producers


Enid News & Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Agricultural producers in six Oklahoma counties who agree to implement conservation practices under the new Environmental Quality Incentives Program Gre-enhouse Gas (GHG) Initiative have until Feb. 15 to submit applications for financial assistance.

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), in partnership with Delta Institute, Oklahoma State University and Oklahoma Conservation Commis-sion, is making funds available to promote innovative nutrient management practices and whole-farm accounting technologies as part of a three-state Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG).

The funding is available for farmers in Blaine, Canadian, Grant, Harmon, Jackson, and Major counties. Applicants can sign up at their local USDA NRCS field service center.

Funding will be available to eligible landowners through the Environ-mental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). NRCS will provide technical and financial assistance for implementing the core practice of nutrient management, as well as supporting conservation practices to reduce GHG emissions associated with farming operations in the selected counties. Land and producer eligibility, adjusted gross income and all other program criteria for participation must be met to participate. Agricultural lands are eligible for enrollment in the initiative.

The main focus for the CIG project is to lower on-farm emissions through increased nutrient use efficiency. The goals of the project include encouraging improved nutrient management practices, such as nitrogen-rich strips, developing data for estimating GHG emission reductions, field testing GHG-reducing practices and producing user-friendly technology to help farmers access environmental markets.

Priority applicants will work with the Chicago-based Delta Institute to create management scenarios based on basic field data such as planting, fertilizer, irrigation, harvest, and tillage practices using COMET-FARM, a secure online tool developed by USDA and Colorado State University. App-licants who choose to work with Delta Institute to calculate nitrous oxide emission reductions may be eligible for additional payments through a voluntary credit trading program.

All the core and supporting practices, including nutrient management, cover crops, crop rotations, and continuous no-till are designed to produce multiple benefits for farmers including improved soil health and reduced erosion.

Additional information about the EQIP GHG Initiative and the CIG project is available at http:// www.ok.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/eqip/index.html.

For application procedures, contact your local NRCS field office.