NRCS, Partners Seek to Assist Bi-State Sage-Grouse Area Ranchers With Conservation Through Partnership Project
USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting applications for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) – Livestock in Harmony with Bi-State Sage-Grouse project. This RCPP project contains two funding streams: one from the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and one from the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP). The deadline for ACEP applications for 2019 funding is April 19, 2019. The deadline for EQIP applications is June 21, 2019.
The purpose of the Livestock in Harmony with Bi-State Sage-Grouse RCPP is to assist agricultural producers as they plan and adopt conservation practices that will restore sage-grouse and other wildlife habitat, improve agricultural water quality, conserve private ranchlands and upgrade agricultural infrastructure. The RCPP prioritizes those conservation practices in the Bi-State area that focus on the implementation of pasture and rangeland management practices to improve:
- Water Quality
- Sage-Grouse Habitat
- Rangeland Ecosystems
The Bi-State region includes portions of Douglas, Lyon, Carson City, Mineral, and Esmeralda Counties in Nevada, and portions of Inyo, Mono, and Alpine Counties of California—in total, an area of 7,000 square miles. The Bi-State encompasses an area approximately 170 miles long and up to 60 miles wide. Private landowners, and, under some circumstances, ranchers with the authority to operate on public lands (e.g. a grazing lease or permit) are eligible for assistance. Please refer to the map for the boundaries of this RCPP.
The Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) was created as part of the 2014 Farm Bill. It is not itself a fund, but a national program that provides additional funding to specific regions and projects through existing funding sources. The purpose of RCPP is to demonstrate the power of well-designed, public-private partnerships to maximize the impact of federal conservation programs.
EQIP is a voluntary, conservation program administered by NRCS that can provide financial and technical assistance to install conservation practices that address natural resource concerns. The purpose of EQIP is to promote agricultural production, forest management, and environmental quality as compatible goals; to optimize environmental benefits; and to help farmers and ranchers meet Federal, State, Tribal, and local environmental regulations. A total of $765,000 has been made available for EQIP throughout the Bi-state Nevada/California region over a three- five year period. This is the second of several sign-up cutoff dates.
The EQIP funds are to assist with land improvements that will help address the following resource concerns: soil erosion, soil quality degradation, insufficient water, water quality degradation, inadequate habitat for fish and wildlife, and air quality impacts.
ACEP offers two easement options: Agricultural Land Easements (ALE)-Grasslands of Special Significance and Wetland Reserve Easements (WRE). A total of $7,235,000 has been made available for ACEP applicants throughout the Bi-State Nevada/California region over a three-five year period. This is the second of several sign-up cutoff dates.
“Easements are important tools for landowners who are trying to conserve their land.” said Ray Dotson, NRCS Nevada state conservationist. "ACEP provides a means to keep working land in production, preserve open space, and greatly benefit our state’s natural resources and wildlife."
Under the ALE component, NRCS may contribute up to 50 percent of the fair market value (FMV) of the agricultural land easement to protect farming and ranching on privately owned cropland. Rangeland, nonindustrial forestland, pastureland, that meet criteria as grasslands of special environmental significance may obtain up to 75% (FMV) funding level from NRCS. Approved agricultural easements prevent productive working lands from being converted to non-agricultural uses and maximize protection of land devoted to food production and critical wildlife habitats. ACEP ALE applications require an eligible entity to match NRCS funding and to hold the easement.
WRE compensates farmers, ranchers and other private landowners for land placed in wetland conservation easements held by NRCS. NRCS shares in the cost of restoring degraded wetlands. Eligible landowners can choose to enroll in a permanent or 30-year easement. Tribal landowners also have the option of enrolling in a 30-year contract. WRE also includes a Grazing Reserve Rights option which allows participants with an approved wetland and grazing management plan to enroll grazed land.
As with all ACEP easements, the landowner retains the title to the land, and the right to control access and recreational use. The land remains on the tax rolls. Learn more about EQIP and ACEP by visiting www.nv.nrcs.usda.gov/programs.
ABOUT THE PARTNERSHIP:
The Livestock in Harmony with Bi-State Sage Grouse RCPP brings together many partners: Eastern Sierra Land Trust, Eastern Sierra Audubon Society, The Nature Conservancy, Mono County Resource Conservation District, Mono County, Nevada Department of Wildlife, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, United States Geological Survey, NRCS and private landowners in an effort to leverage additional funding to conserve working ranches and farms in the Bi-State sage grouse area that borders the Eastern Sierra in Nevada and California.Read more
Bureau of Land Management offers new incentives to encourage more adoptions of wild horses and burros
As part of the Bureau of Land Management’s effort to find good homes for wild horses and burros removed from public lands, the agency today began offering new financial incentives to encourage qualified people to adopt one or more of the animals. The incentives are being implemented to step up placement efforts and confront the growing overpopulation of wild horses and burros on fragile rangelands and in off-range holding facilities, which cost taxpayers nearly $50 million every year to maintain.
“We understand that adopting a wild horse or burro represents a commitment. The incentive is designed to help the adopter cover all or most of the initial costs for training and providing humane care up to the time of receiving title,” said BLM Deputy Director Brian Steed. “I urge anyone who has considered adopting a wild horse or burro to join the thousands of owners who have provided good homes to more than 245,000 wild horses or burros since 1971.”
Through the new incentive program, qualified adopters are eligible to receive $500 within 60 days of the adoption date and an additional $500 within 60 days of titling for each animal, which normally occurs one year from the adoption date. The incentive is available for all animals that are eligible for adoption, including animals at BLM facilities, off-site events or on the agency’s Online Corral website. Adopters will just pay a minimum $25 adoption fee per animal.
Potential adopters are required to complete an application proving they can feed and provide humane care to the animals and that they will adhere to the prohibited acts and titling requirements. In addition, potential adopters must authorize the incentive to be deposited via electronic funds transfers to their preferred account at their financial institution. Potential adopters should visit the BLM website or call 866-468-7826 to learn more about
the guidelines and requirements for adopting a wild horse or burro.
The BLM manages and protects wild horses and burros under the authority of the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. The Act directs the BLM to address overpopulation by removing excess animals from over-populated herds and offering them to the public for adoption or purchase.
The wild horse and burro population on public lands is approximately 81,950 animals, which is more than triple the size the land can support along with other legally mandated uses, according to a March 2018 estimate. High costs and a growing number of unadopted and unsold animals in BLM holding facilities has hindered the agency’s ability to reduce overpopulation in recent years. Chronic overpopulation increases the risk of damage
to rangeland resources through overgrazing, and raises the chances of starvation and thirst for animals in overpopulated herds.
“Finding good homes for excess animals and reducing overpopulation on the range are top priorities for the BLM as we strive to protect the health of these animals while balancing other legal uses of our public rangelands, including allowing for other traditional land uses such as wildlife conservation and grazing,” Steed added.
Owning a wild horse or burro is an extraordinary experience. They have reached national notoriety through disciplines such as dressage, endurance and therapeutic programs that help veterans fulfill a new mission. Wild horses and burros are routinely preferred by public officials for important tasks such as patrolling the border and local policing. Read stories from recent wild horse and burro adopters and purchasers on the BLM’s Flickr page.
Nevada Farm Bureau – Dave Fulstone II Scholarship
Dave Fulstone II was a past president of the Nevada Farm Bureau who dedicated his life to the well-being of Nevada Agriculture. He was passionate in his support of a sustainable agriculture industry in Nevada and was never afraid to tackle the tough issues or face strong opponents in defense of the agriculture industry and producers. The scholarship committee desires to provide financial assistance to students who exemplify those characteristics.
Amount: One $1000 award will be available.
Application deadline: Must be postmarked by March 31, 2019
Who may apply: The 2019 scholarship award is open to any student graduating from an accredited Nevada High School in 2019 and furthering their education in a course of study pertaining to agriculture.
Application procedure: Students wishing to apply for this scholarship should send the completed application along with a copy of their most current high school transcript and two (2) letters of recommendation to:
Dave Fulstone Scholarship Committee c/o Nevada Farm Bureau
2165 Green Vista Drive, Ste. 205 Sparks, Nevada 89431
The successful applicant of this award will be the student who best portrays the ability to be successful in their post-secondary education and exhibits the potential to give back to the agriculture industry and benefit agricultural producers by completing their course of study.
Wanted: ag producers impacted by wildfire, or looking to do rangeland improvements in support of greater sage-grouse
Wanted: ag producers impacted by wildfire, or looking to do rangeland improvements in support of greater sage-grouse
The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is offering financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers interested in restoring lands impacted by wildfire or improving rangelands in greater sage-grouse habitat through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).
Agricultural producers that have been impacted by wildfire or have interest in rangeland improvements are encouraged to apply for these special RCPP funds through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, or EQIP. Applications must be received before 4 p.m. on June 21, 2019 by NRCS to be considered in the last project funding period before unused funds are re-appropriated to other efforts.
Conservation practices and management actions that emphasize wildfire restoration will be prioritized (e.g, seeding, fencing, grazing deferment, fire breaks, etc.). Other practices will be included as well and may include, but are not limited to, sagebrush establishment, perennial grass and/or forb seeding, riparian or meadow enhancements, cross-fencing, off-stream watering for livestock and wildlife, and other potential practices, many of which are likely to be mutually beneficial to the producer’s operation and greater sage-grouse.
Within Nevada, this RCPP effort operates under the authority of NRCS’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program. EQIP is a voluntary, financial and technical assistance program that provides funding for the implementation of conservation practices that may be used to protect and enhance sage grouse habitat, manage livestock, improve irrigation efficiency and reduce soil loss.
Applicants must meet USDA program eligibility requirements for land eligibility and person eligibility. Eligibility requirements include Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) limitations for individuals and entities. Applicants must meet the eligibility criteria to be considered for ranking and funding decisions. Farm Bill programs have strict payment limits, and the amount of financial assistance producers can receive is limited to $450,000 per farm bill cycle. Limited resource producers, beginning farmers and ranchers, or socially disadvantaged agricultural producers may be eligible for up to 15 percent higher payments, not to exceed 90 percent of the estimated cost to install the practice.
The RCPP encourages conservation partners from across the nation to join in efforts with agricultural producers to increase the restoration and sustainable use of soil, water, wildlife and related natural resources through installation and maintenance of conservation activities in selected project areas. The Greater Outcomes for Greater Sage-Grouse RCPP effort is a joint venture of Partners for Western Conservation, The Cattlemen’s Association, the states of Nevada and Colorado, and Environmental Incentives, among others. In Nevada, the Greater Outcomes for Greater Sage-Grouse RCPP effort focuses specifically on providing producers an opportunity to improve their operations and greater sage-grouse habitat by utilizing USDA financial assistance through EQIP.
If interested, the Sagebrush Ecosystem Technical Team can provide a credit estimate of potential available credits within Nevada’s Conservation Credit System (CCS), although no commitments to the CCS are necessary to participate in this RCPP opportunity. If interested in learning about the CCS, please visit http://sagebrusheco.nv.gov/CCS/ConservationCreditSystem/.
To learn more, contact your local NRCS office or go online to: www.nv.nrcs.usda.gov.Read more
Forum will bring stakeholders together to develop local strategies
The Nevada Department of Agriculture (NDA)will host the third annual Native Seed Forum, which bring producers, technical experts and land management agencies together to discuss national and statewide seed strategies.
“This year’s forum will focus on the use of native plants as an alternative crop to help increase the supply of seed in western states, supporting wildland restoration and rehabilitation efforts,” Russell Wilhelm, NDA’s seed program manager, said. “The forum brings stakeholders together to address topics like production management, seed availability and an in-depth look at industry uncertainties.”
The NDA supports the industry by providing wildland seed certification services, safeguarding the species purity of Nevada native seeds. Native seed refers to seeds of plant species native to Nevada landscapes, cultivated in this climate. These seeds can acclimate to Nevada’s unique features, increasing the plants’ chances of survival.
The Nevada Native Seed Forum is a full-day workshop and will be held on Thursday, March 14, 2019 at the Sparks Library, located at 1125 12th St.
Public land management partners like the BLM and the U.S. Forest Service, along with natural resource agencies like the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will be in attendance. The forum is open to anyone interested including: federal land management agencies, state partners, current seed producers, potential seed producers, seed collectors, conservation groups and seed buyers.
Learn more about the Native Seed Forum and view the workshop agenda. To register, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ford & Lincoln Bonus Cash Offer!
We are excited to announce we are now apart of the Ford & Lincoln Bonus Cash Program. Nevada Farm Bureau members receive a $500 Bonus Cash* toward the purchase or lease of an eligible new 2018/2019 Ford vehicle, or $750 Bonus Cash* toward the purchase or lease of an eligible new intelligently designed 2018/2019 Lincoln vehicle.
For full program details please click HERE!
Text the word SWEEPS to 46786** to enter!
Letters of intent are due March 20
Nevada Department of Agriculture (NDA) officials are pleased to announce funding for the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Approximately $250,000 is expected to be awarded to projects that will enhance the competitiveness of Nevada’s specialty crops.
Specialty crops are defined as “fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, legumes, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops (including floriculture).”
“The grant allows us the opportunity to support Nevada’s growing availability of specialty crops through production, education, research and promotion,” Ashley Jeppson, agriculturist for the NDA, said.
Grant funds through this program have been used to establish various projects, including new grower education with Reno Foods Systems, an on-line specialty crop farmers market through 702 Farm, and education and increased sales through the Reno Garlic Festival.
Project proposals that promote and enhance specialty crops through research, marketing, education, and production must have multiple beneficiaries and may not be used to benefit only one individual or organization.
Individual agricultural producers, non-profit and tribal organizations, minority groups, disadvantaged farmers, agricultural associations, industry groups, community based organizations and academic institutions are encouraged to apply.
Letters of intent are due by March 20, 2019 and full application proposals are due by April 11, 2019. The request for proposals, past funded projects and more information can be found on the NDA website.Read more
Newsletter for February 22, 2019
Ott Selected To Lead The Nevada Department of Agriculture
Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak announced that he has approved the appointment of Jennifer Ott to be director of the Nevada Department of Agriculture. She was selected by the Nevada Board of Agriculture following an interview conducted in a public meeting of the Board on February 14. Ott’s first day as director will be March 4, 2019.
“I am proud to approve Jennifer Ott to lead our state’s Department of Agriculture, and I want to thank the Board of Agriculture for their work in identifying our next director,” Governor Sisolak said. “Jennifer brings many years of experience in the agriculture industry, in addition to an outstanding background in leadership and fiscal management. She will make a superb addition to my cabinet, and I look forward to working with her to promote Nevada’s agricultural industries.”
Nevada Farm Bureau President, Bevan Lister offered his congratulations to Ott for her appointment and also expressed appreciation to Governor Sisolak and the Nevada Board of Agriculture.
“We are pleased to have this important position filled with a qualified person who is connected to our state’s agriculture.” Lister said. “We are looking forward to building on our working relationship with Jennifer and enhancing the communications with the Nevada Department of Agriculture for the benefit of our state’s farm and ranch families.”
Jennifer Ott has worked as the administrator of the Department of Agriculture’s Plant Industry Division since January 2018, where she oversaw all plant programs in the state. Previously, she served as operations director for the Desert Farming Initiative at the University of Nevada, Reno. Ott has also served in marketing roles for various chemical and agricultural businesses and began her career as a chemist in multiple laboratories. She holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Texas at Austin and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Nevada, Reno.
Nevada Farm Bureau Group Wraps Up A Successful Trip To Washington, D.C.
In spite of winter weather conditions that shut down the nation’s capital for one day, Nevada Farm Bureau leaders were able to work around the brief delay and held meetings with staff members of Nevada’s Congressional delegation to discuss priority issues like improved natural resource management for federal lands in the state. Nevada Farm Bureau President Bevan Lister, Vice President Darrell Pursel and White Pine County Farm Bureau President Tom Baker were in Washington, D.C., February 20-23. Pursel and Baker each serve on special issue advisory committees of the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF). Pursel serving on the issue advisory committee for water and Baker on the federal lands issue advisory committee.
These two committees held meetings to cover Farm Bureau policy and line out plans for issues of concern.
With these AFBF committee meetings the Nevada Farm Bureau group combined the trip to meet with the new natural resources and agricultural staff members of Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, Senator Jackie Rosen, Congresswoman Dina Titus and Congressman Steven Horsford.
During meetings with the Congressional staff, Nevada Farm Bureau highlighted the necessity of greater attention to pre-fire suppression of building fuel loads on Nevada’s federally-managed rangelands. They also covered the need for progress on appropriate management of Wild Horses that are over-populating the ranges.
Key Water Legislative Bills Set To Be Heard In Assembly Committee, Feb. 27
Reports indicate that the Nevada Legislative Assembly Natural Resources, Agriculture and Mining Committee will be conducting hearings on two important legislative proposals, Wednesday, February 27. These two bills,AB 30- and AB 51 are pre-filed bills, proposed by the Nevada State Engineer’s office.
AB 30 seeks to grant the State Engineer to work around the current protection of state water law for prior appropriated water rights and grant approval to later applications even if there is a potential conflict that would impact the existing water rights. The bill says the if there is water available for appropriation (without specifically indicating that there would be enough water to meet the application) a 3-M plan (monitoring, management and mitigation plan) could be used to negate the current protections of existing water rights, which would require the State Engineer to reject the application.
Nevada Farm Bureau is opposed to AB 30 and will be stressing that the current law and protection of existing water rights needs to be preserved. We are opposed to changing state law to authorize the State Engineer to stop following prior appropriation principles.
The State Engineer’s philosophy is characterized as a need to provide more flexibility for allowing the ability to grant water right applications in spite of the potential conflicts that might come from approving these applications. A key question in response raises the risk of where the boundaries might be if there isn’t the backstop of recognizing protection of existing rights?
AB 51, if approved, would grant the State Engineer authority to adopt regulations for the purpose of implementing “conjunctive” management of waters from the total sources of water. The outline for the possible approach that regulations would take mirror the actual regulations that have been proposed for the State Engineer’s management of the conjunctive management for the
Humboldt River area of the state and the conflicts that have been identified for groundwater pumping impacting availability of water for senior surface water right owners.
Nevada Farm Bureau opposed the proposed regulations that were offered on the basis of Farm Bureau policy that the State Engineer didn’t have the authority to take the approach being pursued through the proposed regulatory system. AB 51 seeks to have the Nevada Legislature weigh in, granting the State Engineer such authority.
The plan would be based on mitigation measures to resolve the conflicts by requiring less senior water right owners (groundwater right owners) to pay a fee or find other water resources to pay senior surface water right owners to make up for the impacts that they are being affected by with less water that the conflict has caused. This attempt works to avoid the use of the current law that requires curtailment of junior water rights to resolve conflicts with senior water rights.
Based on Nevada Farm Bureau policy, we will also be opposing AB 51 as it is written. We strongly encourage you to make contact with members of the Assembly Natural Resources, Agriculture and Mining Committee – listed below. Click on their names and your email system should be able to get you started with your email to the members…
Nevada Legislature Assembly Natural Resources, Agriculture and Mining Committee:Read more
Two cases of equine infection known as “strangles” reported in Clark County
After two positive confirmations of streptococcus equi bacterial infection (commonly known as strangles or equine distemper) and several more likely positives on one property in Clark County, Dr. JJ Goicoechea, state veterinarian for the Nevada Department of Agriculture (NDA), stresses the importance of best biosecurity practices to minimize the risk of spreading disease.
“To date, only one facility is affected, and I have recommended a 21-day hold – no horses in or out of that facility, beginning Feb. 20, to slow the spread of disease,” Dr. Goicoechea said.
Per Nevada Revised Statute (NRS) Chapter 571.160, details regarding animal disease reports must be kept confidential unless there is a public health risk. Because strangles cannot be transferred from horses to humans, there is no such risk at this time.
“It is not uncommon to see cases of upper respiratory diseases in horses this time of year, and we notify local veterinarians and associations when we have new cases,” Dr. Goicoechea said. “We haven’t issued any quarantine orders, but our primary focus is stopping the spread of disease, especially as we approach horse show and event season in the west.”
Biosecurity means doing everything possible to reduce chances of an infectious disease being transferred by people, animals, equipment or vehicles. The bacteria that causes strangles is easily transferred on boots, coats, gloves and equipment. Some basic practices include:
- Never share equipment between horses, and always wear clean clothes when going from ill horses to others.
- Always start chores at healthy horses, and end with sick or recovering (within 30 days) horses.
- Avoid common areas such as hitching rails, wash racks, etc. during an outbreak.
“Please monitor your horses for symptoms including a cough or runny nose and consult with your veterinarian to ensure vaccinations are current,” Dr. Goicoechea said. “If you suspect your horse may be exhibiting signs of illness, contact your veterinarian and do not allow contact with other horses.”
Per NRS Chapter 571.160, any animal owner or practicing veterinarian who has knowledge of a confirmed case of a reportable disease, shall immediately notify the NDA Animal Disease Laboratory. A list of reportable diseases can be found atagri.nv.gov.Read more