Dec. 12 — The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service is offering financial incentives to farmers and ranchers willing to protect sage-grouse habitat. Bruce Petersen, Nevada State Conservationist, said applications must be submitted by Jan. 13 for the first ranking period.
“The Sage-Grouse Initiative helps ranchers and farmers be proactive in keeping the bird from being listed under the Endangered Species Act and reducing the potential for future regulations to protect the species,” said Petersen.The Sage grouse Initiative helps producers install conservation practices that enhance sage grouse habitat such as brush management, range seeding, water developments, prescribed grazing and fencing. Payments are based on 75 percent of the estimated cost of establishing the practices. Beginning, limited resource and socially disadvantaged producers may be eligible for up to 90 percent of the estimated costs. Funding is being offered through the 2008 Farm Bill’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP).
Private and public lands can be enrolled under EQIP, with a $300,000 payment limit for the program through the period of the 2008 Farm Bill. WHIP allows for installation of practices on private and tribal lands and has a $50,000 annual payment limit. Applicants must meet all USDA program eligibility criteria to participate in Farm Bill conservation programs.
Producers may apply at any time for SGI funding but applications must be received by Jan. 13 to be considered in the first ranking period for fiscal year 2012 funding. Depending on the availability of funds, additional applications will be ranked on March 30 and June 1.
For complete details or to apply for funding, contact your local NRCS office or go online tohttp://www.nv.nrcs.usda.gov.