Katy Nesbitt
The La Grande Observer

More information

To find out what kinds of funding opportunities are available and for more information about program eligibility, visit http://bit.ly/OregonEQIP.

To search EQIP funding opportunities specific to each county, go to the NRCS Oregon website at www.or.nrcs.usda.gov and click the “What’s Available in My County?” icon.

Interested applicants can also contact their local USDA Service Center to inquire about EQIP opportunities in their county and to apply for assistance.

Farmers seeking financial assistance to conserve their land have until Nov. 17 to get in on the next round of funding from the Natural Resource Conservation Service Environmental Quality Incentives Program.

Oregon EQIP funds are available to farmers in targeted watersheds or priority areas to address specific natural resource concerns. These resource concerns are identified each year through a locally led strategic planning process with input from landowners, agency staff and conservation partners.

The Nov. 17 deadline is early this year. Mike Burton, of the La Grande Natural Resource Conservation Service, said agriculture producers generally think to sign up in December and he wanted to make sure to get the word out to the public.

There will be a second sign-up period in March, he added.

The big thing in Union County right now, Burton said, are projects under the umbrella of a Regional Conservation Partnership Program on the Grande Ronde River in the valley and upriver from La Grande.

Burton called the Conservation Partnership Program “EQIP on steroids.”

“The upper Grande Ronde is one of the highest rated programs nationally because of its connection with endangered species,” Burton said. “We are improving irrigation efficiency in the valley for the restoration of fish habitat.”

The Conservation Service is putting up $3.6 million. Landowners will contribute another $3.6 million and partners such as the Umatilla Tribe, Grande Ronde Model Watershed and state agencies together will add another $4 million, totaling more than $11 million, according to Burton.

See complete story in Wednesday's Observer