SUBMITTED NEWS RELEASE
It is a new year and we’re excited about the new Farm Bill programs we have to offer. Hopefully you’ve already heard about the new Conservation Stewardship Program. The new CSP offers an opportunity for every landowner to participate. If you are trying to increase your bottom line and leave the land in good shape for the next generation, I encourage you to call your local NRCS office to see if CSP will work for you.
We’ve been selected as a pilot state to evaluate high tunnels. High tunnels are similar to greenhouses. They modify the growing climate, allowing for tender, sensitive, and specialty crops, like certain varieties of vegetables, herbs, and berries, to grow where they otherwise may not. High tunnels can lengthen the timeframe for local marketing of produce, which increases sustainability while lowering energy and transportation inputs. High tunnels may slow evaporation and decrease irrigation water use. NRCS is offering financial assistance amounting to about 75 percent of the cost of the high tunnel and related costs for conservation practices. Beginning, socially disadvantaged, and limited resource farmers can receive 90 percent of the costs. Applicants must be agricultural producers who raise or sell at least $1,000 worth of agricultural products each year, the high tunnel must be installed on existing cultivated land, and other restrictions apply. The application deadline is Feb. 12.
We’re also getting ready to roll out a sage grouse initiative. We will work with stakeholders and partners to develop a habitat improvement strategy based on plans and strategies that have already been developed. We plan to obligate funds for conservation practices that will address resource concerns and provide benefits to both farmers/ranchers and sage grouse. More information on this will be coming out soon.
There are several Farm Bill programs I’d really like to see implemented in Nevada, including the Grassland Reserve Program and Wetlands Reserve Program. GRP helps landowners and operators protect eligible grazing lands, including rangeland. The program supports working grazing operations, enhancement of plant and animal biodiversity, and protection of grasslands under threat of conversion to cropping, urban development and other activities.
WRP offers landowners the opportunity to protect, restore, and enhance wetlands on their property. This program offers landowners an opportunity to establish long-term conservation and wildlife practices.
As with all of our Farm Bill programs, NRCS provides free technical assistance and financial support to eligible applicants. Visit our Web site at http://www.nv.nrcs.usda.gov or contact your local NRCS office to see what programs will work for you.
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