NRCS offering more flexibility and assistance

Farm Forum

NATURAL RESOURCES CONSERVATION SERVICE (NRCS), Huron, SD, October 29, 2013—Officials with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announce new information and good news for producers impacted by the early October 2013 blizzard that affected roughly 28,000 square miles of western South Dakota. NRCS State Conservationist Jeff Zimprich, Huron, SD, says, “We’re pleased to announce that although our offices were closed, people who moved ahead with disposal of dead livestock prior to the NRCS reopening, can come in now for technical and potential financial assistance.”

Zimprich says, “This blizzard and the Government shutdown presented extenuating circumstances for NRCS helping people with resource issues. We can credit our NRCS Chief Jason Weller for working through this issue nationally so our ranchers can get the help they need.” Chief Weller emphasized that these producers should not be penalized because they acted quickly to protect natural resources, especially water quality, before the NRCS offices reopened.

“What Chief Weller’s message means,” says Zimprich, “is that producers are encouraged to apply through the EQIP for costs associated with appropriate carcass disposal that meets technical standards even though such actions were taken prior to an application, early start waiver, or contract approval.”

“As producers and field staff talk,” says Zimprich, “We get a handle on the real needs producers have right now and their opportunity for financial assistance. Their information and applications will help us more accurately work through the funding requests and contracting process.” The NRCS’ Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is our main Farm Bill conservation financial assistance program that helps address needs for managing natural resources, and in this case, financial assistance for disaster recovery, explains Zimprich.

EQIP is a continuous signup with the next funding cut off and application ranking deadline of November 15, 2013. Producers are urged to contact their local NRCS staff right away to discuss the issue and funding opportunities.