The USDA has made $20 million available to California ranchers and farmers to fund agricultural water conservation to combat the effects of the statewide drought.
Farmers and ranchers have until March 3 to apply.
The funding is part of the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) to help agricultural operators use water more efficiently, stabilize fallowed cropland and protect their livelihoods. Funds are available to install a number of conservation practices including irrigation efficiency, cover crops, rehabilitation of existing spring developments and protection of grazing lands.
The USDA says funds will be divided between two specific funding pools: cropland and grazing lands. Cropland with a reduced water allocation of at least 85 percent will receive the highest priority.
Yesterday, the Obama administration announced the formation of seven “climate hubs” to help farmers and rural communities adapt to extreme weather conditions and other effects of climate change. The hubs will act as information centers and aim to help farmers and ranchers handle risks, including fires, pests, floods and droughts that are exacerbated by global warming.