The Woodward News

Local News

August 24, 2012

More drought assistance available for producers

Woodward, Okla. — Another source of financial aid is available for farmers and ranchers affected by the ongoing drought.

Clay Pope, executive director of the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts (OACD) said Gov. Mary Fallin has approved $1.4 million in additional funding to be made available through the statewide Conservation Cost-Share Program and administered by the Oklahoma Conservation Commission.

Pope said cost-shares are expenditures to help producers pay for conservation improvements.

"We (local conservation districts) share costs with the producers," he said. "The Natural Resources Conservation Service determines those costs."

Bill Covalt, Woodward County Conservationist, said the county will get $18,080 from the program.

This is new money, not an addition to a prior-year allocation, said J.T. Winters of Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

"In the past, the funding was $10,000 to $14,000, and it benefitted 13 to 17 persons," Winters said. "The current allocation will fund at least 18 projects in the county if the past guidelines are implemented by the conservation district board and staff."

The grant is separate from the EQIP funding from NRCS that was recently announced.

The money will help fund projects such as the construction of ponds, water well drilling, connecting tap hydrants to water systems and grass planting for damaged pastures.

"The dollars may also be used to control invasive species which use water, like the Eastern Red Cedar," Pope said. "And those measures also help reduce the fuel load for wildfires."

He said local district conservation boards of directors will prioritize how the money is spent.

"They will be working to make the dollars available to producers as quickly as possible," Pope said. "We are glad these resources are available, and OACD wants to do all it can to help."

The deadline to apply for the cost-share funds is June 30, 2013, and Covalt said the conservation district's board will then consider the requests after that date.

Pope said farmers and ranchers should go to the conservation district office and meet with the staff to complete their applications.

To learn more, visit Covalt at the Woodward County Conservation District, 3300 Oklahoma Ave., Suite 300.  Or you may contact him by phone at (580) 256-5320, ext. 3 or by e-mail at woodwardccd@conservation.ok.gov.

Pope may also be reached for more information at (405) 699-2087 or claypope@pldi.net.

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