Dairy nutrient management projects eligible for new EQIP funding

Western United Dairymen and Sustainable Conservation welcomed the news this week that USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in California has announced $8.5 million will be made available through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) to help producers in four targeted areas undertake water quality and water conservation projects. Applications are due April 20, 2012. Interested producers should contact their local NRCS office.

Western United Dairymen and Sustainable Conservation were successful in jointly requesting funding for a targeted area that includes the eastern portion of the San Joaquin River watershed in Stanislaus and Merced Counties. The area is bordered by the northern Stanislaus County line in the north, the Sierra Nevada foothills in the east, the southern Merced County border in the south and the San Joaquin River in the west. This area covers the Modesto, Turlock and Merced groundwater basins, which are characterized by shallow ground and coarse textured soils, which put groundwater at risk. Stanislaus and Merced counties encompass approximately 500 dairies, or about 32% of the state dairy milking herd, with the majority of the dairies in these two counties located within the targeted area.
These counties have been identified as key regions of concern because of the high concentration of dairies located on permeable soils with shallow groundwater. The project’s objective is to accelerate the rate of adoption of existing technologies and practices among dairy producers in the area.

"All of these new project areas are being made possible through an NRCS national landscape conservation initiative that is helping us to provide voluntary incentives to farmers and dairy producers to improve the Bay Delta ecosystem," said Ed Burton, California State Conservationist for NRCS. The potentially fundable practices include general EQIP projects such as flow meters, pipelines to distribute liquid manure on more cropland, tailwater return systems, solid manure separation systems, waste storage facilities and slurry manure injection.March 30, 2012 WUD Friday Update