The Duncan Banner
Stillwater, OK —
Gary O’Neill, NRCS Oklahoma State Conservationist, said Tuesday, that “All 77 NRCS offices in Oklahoma have resumed working with farmers and ranchers to implement conservation activities. We recognize the hardship that the shutdown has placed on farmers and ranchers who are actively engaged in conservation programs on their land, and we are working to address the backlog of requests as expediently as possible.”
NRCS is able to proceed with the implementation of several conservation programs, including the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). However, authority to enroll acres in several other programs such as the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) lapsed on September 30, 2013, due to the expiration of the Farm Bill.
State Conservationist O’Neill added that “During FY 2012, Oklahoma NRCS delivered $41.2 million in financial assistance to farmers and ranchers who are actively engaged in conserving the land. This assistance was provided through Farm Bill programs including: Agricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP), (CSP), (EQIP), Grassland Reserve Program (GRP, (WRP), and the Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP).”
O’Neill added,, “Since 1935, NRCS and the Oklahoma Conservation Partnership have been recognized nationally as a leader in delivering conservation on the land. The NRCS mission is “Helping People Help the Land” and we accomplish that in Oklahoma by providing trained, professional conservationists in 77 offices serving all counties and working together with the conservation districts to deliver ‘locally led conservation’.”
For more information, producers are encouraged to contact their local USDA Service Center or visit: www.nrcs.usda.gov.