New funds for ranchers interested in conservation in the Cheney Lake watershed area

Alice Mannette
The Hutchinson News
Stacey Krehbiel’s cattle graze stockpiled cover crops on a crop field near Pretty Prairie.

SALINA ‒ The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service announced that eligible producers can receive Environmental Quality Incentives Program funding through the Cheney Lake Project.

This EQIP Initiative provides opportunity for producers to receive financial assistance to implement conservation practices that integrate livestock grazing into cropping systems that address soil health and water quality resource concerns on cropland in the Cheney Lake watershed.

Applications will be accepted on a continuous basis. The Fiscal Year 2021 application evaluation period cut-off date for the Cheney Lake Project is April 16, 2021. Eligible applications submitted prior to the cut-off will be assessed, ranked and funded in ranking score order.  

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“The Cheney Lake Project offers producers a unique opportunity to incorporate grazing of cropland in association with implementation of conservation practices having impact on soil and water quality benefits in the Cheney Lake watershed,” said Monty R. Breneman, acting state conservationist, said in a release. “This locally led project will have far reaching impacts on one of our state’s largest public water supplies.”

'This is first and foremost a soil health initiation'

It is important that applicants provide accurate records of ownership to USDA Farm Service Agency. This fiscal year, all landowners are required to file a CCC-902, Farm Operating Plan, along with adjusted gross income and conservation compliance forms.  Application information is available at your local USDA Service Center. More information is also available at Kansas NRCS.

"This is first and foremost a soil health initiation. Livestock is an important part of the regenerative system because livestock speeds up the regeneration of the soil," said Howard Miller, outreach coordinator for the Cheney Lake Watershed. "One of the obstacles for grazing livestock on cropland is finding water on that area."

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Cheney Lake Watershed, Inc., will host a public information meeting about the Initiative at 1 p.m. March 26 at the Ninnescah Senior Center in Arlington. Besides contacting their local NRCS office, farmers or landowners can contact the Cheney Lake Watershed staff for applications and planning assistance. Howard Miller may be reached at 620-727-6546 and Lisa French may be reached at 620-200-0172.

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