Conservation technical assistance, funding now available

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Submitted to the Spencer Magnet

The USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service in Kentucky is encouraging landowners, farmers and producers to visit their local NRCS office now to receive more information and apply for conservation technical assistance and possible financial funding opportunities.
The Kentucky NRCS application ranking cutoff date for consideration for 2012 funds in this sign-up period is November 15, 2011.
Financial assistance is available to eligible applicants for the following Farm Bill programs:
• The Environmental Quality Incentives Program  is a conservation program that provides financial and technical assistance to farmers and ranchers who face threats to soil, water, air, and related natural resources on their land.  Through EQIP, NRCS develops contracts with agricultural producers to voluntarily implement conservation practices.  Persons engaged in livestock or agricultural production and owners of non-industrial private forestland are eligible for the program.  Eligible land includes cropland, rangeland, pastureland, private non-industrial forestland, and other farm or ranch lands.
• The Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP) is a voluntary program for developing or improving high quality habitat that supports fish and wildlife populations of National, State, Tribal, and local significance.
All recipients of assistance are required to develop a Conservation Plan.  Conservation planning is an integral part of the conservation process.  Landowners should work with a conservation planner to develop the plan based on the landowner’s operational goals to improve the productivity, sustainability and profitability of their operation.  The Conservation Plan will serve as a roadmap to a variety of technical  and financial assistance through EQIP and WHIP, as well as other options available to the landowner.
If you are interested in participating in Farm Bill conservation programs, you should sign up as soon as possible and request a conservation plan.  For more information, contact Randal Rock, NRCS District Conservationist at 502-633-3640 Ext. 3.