BOARD OF DIRECTORS ACTION – OCTOBER 26, 2023
$30 Million in New Funding Announced for Inflation Reduction Act to Benefit Nebraska Producers
(GRAND ISLAND, NE) – During the Central Platte Natural Resources District (CPNRD) Board of Directors meeting on Thursday, Joe Krolikowski, NRCS District Conservationist, shared a recent announcement that Nebraska has been tentatively approved for an additional $30 million through the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) to be included in the EQIP program. The IRA funding priorities are to advance climate-smart agriculture and forestry practices. The USDA is tasked with quantifying and tracking carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas emissions and gathering field-based data to evaluate the effectiveness of climate-smart mitigation practices in reducing emissions. Krolikowski said the new funding will authorize NRCS to assess, rank and process applications sooner; allowing producers to implement the practices right away.
Janelle Taubenheim, Resource Conservationist, reported that the NRCS Kearney office has the following applications: 26 grazing, 19 irrigation, 1 urban agriculture and 5 cover crops. Taubenheim also reported that November 17th is the application cut-off date for several USDA-NRCS cost-share programs. Producers are encouraged to contact their local NRCS office to discuss which program would benefit their operation best.
Prescribed Fire Program
The Programs Committee met to discuss the Prescribed Fire Program. The Program started in 2004 to introduce prescribed fire as a range management tool, with the objective that landowners would take over leadership once they had the training and experience. Most of the prescribed burns for landowners in CPNRD vary from 20 to 160 acres. The Committee reviewed a proposed new rate structure due to increased costs and other developments that have occurred since the Program was implemented. The current rate was established to provide educational awareness for landowners at $10 per acre for the first 40 acres and an additional $5 per acre above 40 acres, with a minimum charge of $300 per burn. Bill Hiatt, Resources Conservationist, will present additional information on the Program and proposed changes for Board consideration at their November meeting.
Conservation Tree Program
The NRD receives tree seedlings for the Conservation Tree Program from the Nebraska National Forest at Halsey. The tree cost will increase to $31.25 for a bundle of 25 seedlings to meet CPNRD expenses. Tree orders are accepted from November 1 – April 1 for spring planting. Species to be sold starting November 1st include 15 shrubs, 11 deciduous trees and 7 conifers. Orders placed by December 31st receive a 10% discount on trees, weed barrier & tree planting services. The cost to install fabric weed barrier has also increased to $1.50 per foot to meet NRD expenses. The fabric weed barrier is a black polypropylene fabric that allows water and nutrients to be absorbed into the soil and has a minimum service life of five years guaranteed. Orders can be placed at the CPNRD office or your local NRCS office. To learn more visit cpnrd.org or call (308) 385-6282.
Managers Report Lyndon Vogt, General Manager, provided the following reports:
Nine applications for brush management, underground pipe to pivot, burn preparation, center pivot incentive, cover crops and well decommissioning were approved through the Nebraska Soil and Water Conservation and the Central Platte NRD cost-share programs totaling $38,050.
Upcoming Board Meetings
November 16, December 21, January 25
The Board of Directors meetings are held at 2:00 p.m. at the CPNRD office located at 215 Kaufman Avenue in Grand Island, NE.