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Posted on February 10, 2014 | 1:34 p.m.

Capps Announces Effort to Assist California Producers Affected by Drought

Source: C.J. Young for Rep. Lois Capps

Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture will make $20 million available for agricultural water conservation efforts throughout California to combat the effects of the drought.

Interested landowners and managers have until March 3 to apply for available funds.

“This is a welcomed development from the USDA, and I am very pleased to see federal, state, and local authorities working together to address our drought emergency,” Capps said. “Agriculture is at the core of the Central Coast economy, and it falls upon us to ensure that the agriculture community has the resources and support that they need to get through this exceptionally trying time.”

This announcement is part of broader Obama administration efforts to help those impacted by the drought. Through the National Drought Resilience Partnership, launched as part of President Obama's Climate Action Plan, federal agencies are working closely with state and local government, agriculture, and other partners on a coordinated response.

The USDA announced this additional funding through the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program to help agricultural operators use water more efficiently, stabilize fallowed cropland and protect their livelihoods for the future. Funds are available statewide to install a number of conservation practices including irrigation efficiency, cover crops, rehabilitation of existing spring developments, protection of grazing lands and other supporting components.

Funds will be divided between two specific funding pools: cropland and grazing lands. Cropland with a reduced water allocation of at least 85 percent will receive the highest priority. In order to be considered eligible for EQIP, the applicant must have a vested interest in agricultural production and meet other program eligibility requirements. For additional information, eligible landowners are encouraged to contact their local NRCS Service Center.

Service center locations and more information on the drought initiative can be found by clicking here.

C.J. Young is a press assistant for Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara.

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