The Ogallala Aquifer Initiative will get about $2.5 million in the coming fiscal year to help provide farmers financial help in implementing programs that help conserve the water in the Aquifer.
For applications to be considered for funding in 2014, they must be filed with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service by March 21. Funds will be available through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program.
"The Ogallala Aquifer Initiative allows agriculture producers to implement conservation practices such as irrigation water management, crop rotations, and replacing inefficient gravity irrigation systems," says Eric B. Banks, State Conservationist for NRCS. "These conservation practices directly benefit the water quality and water quantity issues in this aquifer."
High Plains reliant on aquifer
Much of the High Plains region relies on the Ogallala for water but the water in the Ogallala Aquifer is diminishing because of widespread irrigation use in the High Plains states.
The Ogallala Aquifer, also known as the High Plains Aquifer, is a vast, yet shallow underground water table aquifer located beneath the Great Plains in the United States. It is one of the world's largest aquifers and covers an area in portions of eight states: Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming.
Financial assistance is available through the OAI for producers considering converting from irrigated cropland to dryland cropland, as well as assistance for more efficient irrigation systems and management. All applicants must meet EQIP eligibility requirements. In Kansas, socially disadvantaged, limited resource, and beginning farmers and ranchers will receive a higher payment rate for conservation practices implemented through the OAI.