Special to the Tribune-Star
TERRE HAUTE —
The drought of 2012 has caused degradation to many natural resources in Indiana including wildlife cover, livestock forage, wildlife and livestock water and soil quality.
Because of this, USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service state conservationist Jane Hardisty has announced the agency will stage a special sign up to assist drought-stricken producers through the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program. The deadline for producers to sign up is Aug. 20.
Indiana NRCS is accepting Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program applications for consideration for funding for a specific set of practices that can address wildlife habitat and drought resource concerns.
Examples of practices include deferred grazing through access control, conservation crop rotation, cover crops, forage and biomass planting and watering facilities. Several supporting practices are also allowed and include practices such as ponds, pumps, pipeline and wells.
The primary purpose of the WHIP sign up is to protect wildlife habitat by providing wildlife access to cover and water during the fall and winter and to allow pastures to recover from the drought.
“In addition to wildlife concerns, I am concerned because drought-stressed crops did not use the applied nitrogen fertilizer, which may now be lost when we do get rain,” Hardisty said. “WHIP can help provide funding for cover crops to tie up these nutrients, making them available for the next crop. This saves farmers money and protects water quality, along with wildlife benefits.”
Additional program requirements and information about WHIP are available on the Indiana NRCS website at www.in.nrcs.usda.gov/drought.html. Visit www.in.nrcs.usda.gov/contact/directory/field_offices.html to find the nearest USDA Service Center.