NRCS offers conservation options for producers

Andy Keep of Imperial is all about conservation and why wouldn’t he be—he’s the district conservationist with the Natural Resources Convervation Service (NRCS).

Keep covers the three counties of the Upper Republican Natural Resources District (URNRD) which include Chase, Perkins and Dundy Counties.

He works closely with the URNRD and the district’s farmers on the various conservation programs available. 

The primary program Keep and his office focus on in this area is the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

Through EQIP, ag producers receive financial and technical assistance to implement structural and management conservation practices that optimize environmental benefits on working ag land and range land. 

Funding for EQIP and other NRCS programs comes from the United States Department of Agriculture as part of the current Farm Bill. 

Under the current bill, Nebraska is allocated $25 million  to use across the state. Keep said his office gets around $400,000 each year for conservation projects. 

In the URNRD, NRCS has helped pay for the conversion of most all of the gravity irrigated land to pivots. 

And nearly all pivots in the district have been converted to low pressure drop nozzles to conserve water. NRCS also helped with cost-share on that effort as well. 

Most conservation projects are cost-share partnerships with the producer. 

In the case of temporary retirement of irrigated acres, producers receive annual payments over a three-year period. 

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