Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Tuesday announced USDA will make $20 million available for agricultural water conservation efforts throughout California to combat the effects of drought.
Interested landowners and managers have until March 3, 2014 to apply for available funds.
"Working with our federal, state, and local partners, we are doing everything within our power to support those farmers and ranchers affected by this intense drought," Vilsack said. "These funds will help get a suite of scientifically proven conservation techniques on the ground and helping producers."
Through the National Drought Resilience Partnership, federal agencies are working closely with state, local government, agriculture and other partners on a coordinated response.
Related: Far West Drought Situation Appears Dire
USDA is announcing this additional funding through the Natural Resources Conservation Service's Environmental Quality Incentives Program to help agricultural operators use water more efficiently and stabilize fallowed cropland.
Funds are available statewide to install a number of conservation practices including irrigation efficiency, cover crops, rehabilitation of existing spring developments, protection of grazing lands, and other supporting components.
Funds will be divided between two specific funding pools: cropland and grazing lands.
Cropland with a reduced water allocation of at least 85% will receive the highest priority. In order to be considered eligible for EQIP, the applicant must have a vested interest in agricultural production and meet other program eligibility requirements.
Additional information on the drought initiative can be found at www.ca.nrcs.usda.gov.