NRCS EQUIP Funding for Local Growers

A press release came across my desk for immediate release. This press release is from the USDA for Hillsborough County farmers to implement water savings, environmental enhancement, and runoff remediation projects. It is a cost share grant based on criteria and rankings set by NRCS. Here is a Web link to projects that are potentially grant funding under this NRCS program. ftp://ftp-fc.sc.egov.usda.gov/FL/eqip/EQIPpractices.pdf

Contact: Jeffrey Woods, 352-338-9515
Katura Wright, 352-338-9510
For Immediate Release

Project Funding Available in Florida to Improve Water Quality and Quantity

Gainesville, FL., July 12, 2010 – Hillsborough County area farmers and ranchers can help conserve water and improve water quality on agricultural working lands through the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP), which leverages additional resources and services from conservation partners. The program is administered by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), which enters into agreements with conservation partners to help landowners plan and implement conservation practices in project areas established through the agreements. Florida NRCS has partnered with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services on one project funded in 2010 for $750,000. Producers in the Northern Tampa Bay area of Hillsborough County have until July 23, 2010, to apply for this program at their local NRCS office.

"NRCS is working hard to support efforts to protect and preserve our water resources,” said Carlos Suarez, NRCS state conservationist in Florida. “The funding announced today will help producers in Florida begin or expand plans and projects to improve water quality.”

AWEP partners include federally recognized Indian tribes, states, units of local government, agricultural associations, and non-governmental organizations. Partner proposals were selected using a competitive process that considered several factors including statutorily defined priority areas, emphasis for water conservation activities such as conversion of irrigated land to dryland farming and assistance to farmers and ranchers to meet regulatory requirements. Approved partners enter into multi-year agreements with NRCS to promote ground and surface water conservation or improve water quality on eligible agricultural lands in the project area. Additional information about AWEP is available at www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/awep.
Information about other NRCS conservation programs can be found at www.fl.nrcs.usda.gov/programs.

NRCS is celebrating 75 years helping people help the land in 2010. Since 1935, the NRCS conservation delivery system has advanced a unique partnership with state and local governments and private landowners delivering conservation based on specific, local conservation needs, while accommodating state and national interests.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).

If you have any other questions you can call your local NRCS service center in Plant City at 752-1474.

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