A $1.7 million grant from the National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will help develop a statewide strategy to increase irrigation on cropland. The Alabama Farmers Federation will lead the effort while partnering with NRCS, a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and other organizations.
The funding will be used for construction of on-farm reservoirs and other irrigation techniques with an emphasis on efficiency. Reservoirs store surface runoff water for farmers to use when other water resources are unavailable.
“The ability to harness and better utilize Alabama’s abundant water resources will be pivotal in the agricultural and economic development of our state,” Federation President Jimmy Parnell said. “Doing so in a sustainable manner will ensure this resource for future generations. This program will help farmers overcome financial barriers to invest in the most efficient irrigation technologies available.”
According to the 2012 Census of Agriculture, Alabama has more than 2.7 million acres of cropland but only 112,000 acres of irrigated land.
The Alabama irrigation project is one of 115 initiatives nationwide that will receive more than $370 million as part of the new Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).
“RCPP puts our partners in the driver’s seat,” said Dr. William E. Puckett, NRCS State Conservationist in Alabama. “Projects are led locally, and demonstrate the value of strong public-private partnerships that deliver solutions to tough natural resource challenges. The Alabama Farmers Federation project is a phenomenal example of this partnership approach for conservation that will leave an impact on the entire state.”
This year, Alabama will be involved in three RCPP projects totaling nearly $11 million.
RCPP is a 5-year, $1.2 billion USDA commitment. This year the program received more than 600 pre-proposals. For more information on RCPP, click here.
To learn about technical and financial assistance available through conservation programs, visitnrcs.usda.gov/GetStarted or a local USDA service center.
Courtesy of the Alabama Farmers Federation