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Conservation grants available

Rice growers in 13 Arkansas counties who agree to install pilot conservation practices under the Conservation Innovation Grant – Greenhouse Gas (CIG-GHG) program have until Feb. 15, 2013, to submit applications to receive financial assistance to implement conservation practices.

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), in partnership with Winrock International, has received funding for the Demonstrating GHG Emission Reductions in Rice Production CIG project. The funding is available for rice growers in Arkansas, Ashley, Chicot, Craighead, Desha, Drew, Greene, Jefferson, Lonoke, Mississippi, Monroe, Poinsett, and Prairie counties. Applicants can sign up at their local U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service field service center.

Funding will be available to eligible landowners through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). NRCS will provide technical and financial assistance for a variety of conservation practices for the purpose of reducing greenhouse gas emissions associated with rice production. Land and producer eligibility, adjusted gross income, and all other program criteria for participation must be met to participate in this initiative. Agricultural lands are eligible for enrollment in the initiative.

The main focus for this project is to implement cost-effective projects, field-test GHG-reducing practices and produce user-friendly technology to help grower’s access carbon markets. Results will be used to guide USDA policy and programs to improve incentives that encourage the voluntary adoption of conservation practices. All the practices to be piloted are designed to produce multiple benefits for rice growers including more efficient water management, reduced diesel use and more.

Additional information about the CIG-GHG project, area maps and conservation practices, is available at http://www.ar.usda.gov/programs.

To locate the local field office, visit http://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app?agency=nrcs.