Statement issued Wednesday:
Dave White, Chief of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, announced last week that $61.2 million is available in financial assistance funding for Agricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP) projects, nationwide. This funding will help producers conserve surface and ground water and improve water quality on agricultural land.
In Indiana, this means that funding is continued for two designated areas in the northern part of the state, and funding is available for new project proposals from partners. “Last year, USDA selected two Indiana project areas for funding in under AWEP,” said NRCS State Conservationist Jane Hardisty. “One project area is in LaPorte County in the Kankakee River watershed, and the second project is located in the St Joseph River watershed that drains northwest into Lake Michigan. Seven Indiana counties have agricultural land in this St Joseph watershed: Elkhart, LaGrange, Steuben, Noble, Kosciusko, DeKalb, and St Joseph.”
NRCS obligated almost $600,000 to 29 producers in the two project areas from Indiana that were selected for funding in 2009. These contracts cover more than 6,500 acres.
Of the $61.2 million available nationally in 2010, approximately $40.4 million will be available to producers in the projects selected for funding last year. The remaining $20.7 million will be available to producers under new project proposals submitted by partners this year.
Partners who are eligible to submit proposals for funding include: federally recognized Indian Tribes, units of state and local government, agricultural associations, and other groups of producers—such as irrigation associations, agricultural land trusts, or other nongovernmental organizations that have experience working with agricultural producers.
Deadline for submitting new partnership proposal is 3:00 P.M., May 17, 2010. Visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/AWEP to view the full request for proposal, to apply, or for additional AWEP information.
After the partnership agreements have been approved, the project will be announced by NRCS in each state. Then eligible farmers and ranchers may apply for program benefits.