Planting Seeds - Food & Farming News from CDFA

NRCS California extends drought assistance program deadline to July 14

The EQIP-Conservation Incentive Contracts program (EQIP-CIC), a pilot program from the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in California, has extended its deadline for applications to July 14.

The program is looking to provide long-term support to address drought on agricultural and other lands.

Specifically through this new pilot program (EQIP-CIC), six high priority areas were identified:

1.  San Joaquin Valley (cropland);

2.  Statewide (cropland);

3.  Klamath Basin (cropland);

4.  Statewide (range, pasture);

5.  Statewide (forest); and

6.  Statewide Tribal Land (cropland, range, pasture, forest).

In addition to these high priority areas, NRCS conservationists are available to discuss best conservation practices and enhancements for cropland, rangeland, forestland, pastureland, and tribal land, which can result in development of a conservation plan. A conservation plan is a roadmap to the natural resources stewardship of land that helps with the successful implementation of conservation improvements.

Plants are the natural solution for many conservation challenges. For example, landowners can install hedgerow and other plantings to establish multi-purpose wildlife habitat. Through this program, land managers could receive reimbursement for planting cover crops for pollinators while improving soil health and for planting trees, shrubs, grasses, and forbs to create habitat for beneficial insects and Monarch butterflies, while reducing soil erosion or improving livestock well being. 

As a western drought state, California landowners may reduce risks of wildfires while protecting homes and communities by using conservation practices such as brush management, fuel break, woody residue treatment, and forest stand improvement. With this new pilot program, landowners would also be able to receive reimbursement to continue the longer term management of these best conservation practices for reducing the height and density of forest understory to limit wildfire risk.

Landowners can efficiently use water resources by implementing practices such as irrigation ditch lining, irrigation pipeline, or micro irrigation. Through the pilot program, irrigation scheduling technology can be included in a conservation plan to help farmers explore new technology with agricultural innovations to help decrease energy and water use.

For more information on the new pilot EQIP-CIC and the new July 14, 2021 application deadline, contact a local NRCS field office to schedule an appointment. An office locator is available at


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