USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in California has identified ten conservation practices that, if used more widely, have high potential for conservation benefits. Farmers, ranchers and private forest landowners who receive contracts for applying the practices may now receive incentive payments that could reach as high as 90 percent of the nationally-identified cost.
“The 2018 Farm Bill provides for us to work with partners to identify this set of conservation practices that are underutilized relative to California’s natural resource needs,” says NRCS State Conservationist Carlos Suarez. “This allows us more flexibility to tailor our conservation tool chest to offer ‘bigger carrots’ to landowners who incorporate the prioritized practices into their conservation plans,” says Suarez.
The priority list selected for California are as follows:
327 – Conservation Cover
328 – Conservation Crop Rotation
340 – Cover Crop
345 – Residue and Tillage Management, Reduced Tillage
484 – Mulching
528 – Prescribed Grazing
590 – Nutrient Management
595 – Pest Conservation Management System
645 – Upland Wildlife Habitat Management
666 – Forest Stand Improvement
These 10 practices are selected from among 143 that are used to address conservation challenges in California. The number associated with each practice provides the description and standards needed to achieve the intended benefits. This prioritized list will be revisited annually with partner input through the State Technical Advisory Committee process.
Suarez says that management practices, many of which are included in the prioritized list, help structures and tools like rangeland fencing or crop nutrients, to fully realize their agricultural and conservation potential.
For more information interested landowners should contact their local NRCS field offices in California where applications are currently being accepted for these and other practices through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Funding decisions will be made in early spring.