CONSERVATION COST SHARE PROGRAMS FOR LANDOWNERS
Locally-led State Cost Share The Oklahoma Conservation Commission has announced Program Year 16 of the state’s Locally-Led Conservation Cost-Share Program. The program began in 1997 with the goal of reducing soil erosion and improving water quality by providing financial assistance to landowners for applying soil and water conservation practices. Funding for Program Year 16 is $1.4 million statewide. The Cost-Share Program overlaps years because it is designed to extend through two growing seasons to allow ample opportunity, under normal conditions, to install the conservation practices. Sign up is January 12-February 13, 2015. Landowners and operators must have at least 20 acres and derive at least $1,000 agricultural products annually. New ponds will only be installed on 40 acre tracts or larger. Applications will be priority ranked and work can only be started after a performance agreement is signed by the applicant and district. Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Programs NRCS's natural resources conservation programs help people reduce soil erosion, enhance water supplies, improve water quality, increase wildlife habitat, and reduce damages caused by floods and other natural disasters. Certain programs also provide financial assistance for agricultural producers to rehabilitate farmland damaged by natural disasters and pests. Public benefits include enhanced natural resources that help sustain agricultural productivity and environmental quality while supporting continued economic development, recreation, and scenic beauty.
The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP)
A voluntary conservation program that encourages producers to address resource concerns in a comprehensive manner by:
Undertaking additional conservation activities
Improving, maintaining, and managing existing conservation activities
CSP is available on Tribal and private agricultural lands and non-industrial private forest land in all 50 states including the Caribbean and Pacific Islands Areas. The program provides equitable access to all producers, regardless of operation size, crops produced, or geographic location.
Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)
A voluntary program that provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers through contracts up to a maximum term of ten years in length. These contracts provide financial assistance to help plan and implement conservation practices that address natural resource concerns and for opportunities to improve soil, water, plant, animal, air, and related resources on agricultural land and non-industrial private forestland. In addition, the purpose of EQIP is to help producers meet federal, state, tribal and local environmental regulations.
The Grassland Reserve Program (GRP)
A voluntary conservation program that emphasizes support for working grazing operations, enhancement of plant and animal biodiversity, and protection of grassland under threat of conversion to other uses. Participants voluntarily limit future development and cropping uses of land while retaining the right to conduct common grazing practices and operations related to the production of forage and seeding, subject to certain restrictions during nesting seasons of bird species that are in significant decline or are protected under federal or state law. A grazing managment plan is required for participants.
The Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP)
A voluntary program offering landowners the opportunity to protect, restore, and enhance wetlands on their property. NRCS provides the technical and financial support to help landowners with these wetland restoration efforts. The NRCS goal is to achieve the greatest wetland functions along with optimum wildlife habitat. Lands eligible for WRP are wetlands farmed under natural conditions; farmed wetlands; prior converted cropland; farmed wetland pasture; certain lands with the potential to become a wetland as a result of flooding; riparian areas which link protected wetlands.
NRCS provides the following services:
Natural resource assessments
Conservation planning assistance
Technical assistance for conservation practices
Cost share programs for conservation work