NRCS Offers Producers Wide Range of Resources to Prepare for Extreme Weather, Natural DisasterMon, 29 Apr 2019 14:39:01 CDT
During the latest episode of the Southern Plains Podcast, a collaborative venture between the USDA Southern Plains Climate Hub and Redlands Community College, host and USDA Southern Plains Climate Hub Coordinator Clay Pope visits with Gary O'Neil, state conservationist for the USDA-NRCS office in Oklahoma about how USDA is helping producers deal with natural resource challenges through farm bill programs.
According to O'Neil, the Natural Resources Conservation Service offers producers a variety of programs and initiatives that help them prepare for the event of a natural disaster or extreme weather conditions. One thing it has promoted heavily recently is proper soil health management. O'Neil says focusing on building your property's soil health can help significantly in retaining residual moisture in the ground during extended periods of dryness.
Programs like the Environmental Quality Incentives Program or EQIP, is also available for producers when disaster strikes. In the past it has helped to water livestock during prolonged drought. In the wake of recent wildfires, EQIP has helped producers rebuild their fencing infrastructure. It has also assisted in the revitalization of wildlife habitat. In addition, the Emergency Watershed Protection Program has helped communities maintain their infrastructure protecting roads and bridges where flooding has impacted the land.
The success of these programs and the work that has been done by the NRCS is clearly reflected in the results of the 2017 Ag Census, recently released by the USDA. O'Neil points out that a 30 percent decrease in intensive tillage can be seen in Oklahoma, putting the state among the top seven in the nation for intensive tillage reduction. He also notes that the results show a 51 percent increase in the planting of cover crops in Oklahoma which puts the state among the top 20 in the nation.
"That's the kind of things we're looking for," O'Neil said. "It shows the work the partnership is doing here in the state and that it's having an impact."
You can listen to the full conversation that Clay Pope had with Gary O'Neil, by clicking on the LISTEN BAR below.
Source- USDA Southern Plains Climate Hub and Redlands Community College
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