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NRCS announces special sign up for drought relief

Thursday, August 9, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS -- The drought of 2012 has caused serious degradation to many natural resource concerns in Indiana including wildlife cover, livestock forage, wildlife and livestock water and soil quality.

Today, USDA's Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) State Conservationist Jane Hardisty announced the agency will hold a special sign-up to assist drought stricken producers through the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP). Deadline for producers to sign up is Aug. 20.

Indiana NRCS is accepting Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) applications for consideration for funding for a specific set of practices that can address wildlife habitat and drought resource concerns.

Examples of practices include deferred grazing through access control, conservation crop rotation, cover crops, forage and biomass planting and watering facilities. Several supporting practices are also allowed and include practices such as ponds, pumps, pipeline, wells and more.

The primary purpose of the WHIP sign-up is to protect wildlife habitat by providing wildlife access to cover and water during the fall and winter as well as allow pastures to recover from the drought.

"In addition to wildlife concerns, I am concerned because drought stressed crops did not use the applied nitrogen fertilizer, which may now be lost when we do get rain," Hardisty explained. "WHIP can help provide funding for cover crops to tie up these nutrients, making them available for the next crop. This saves farmers money and protects water quality, along with wildlife benefits."

Additional program requirements and information about WHIP is available on the Indiana NRCS website at: www.in.nrcs.usda.gov/drought.html or visit your local USDA-NRCS field office to talk with staff. Visit www.in.nrcs.usda.gov/contact/directory/f... to find the nearest USDA Service Center.

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