Financial assistance available to reduce wildfire risk and improve fisheries in Yamhill County

Apply with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service in McMinnville

McMINNVILLE, Ore. – Farmers, ranchers and forest owners in Yamhill County may be eligible for financial assistance to help them reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire and enhance forest health on their woodlands, and improve irrigation efficiency and fish habitat on their farmland.

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) office in McMinnville is now accepting applications from private landowners for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). EQIP is a voluntary Farm Bill program that reimburses landowners for costs to perform conservation treatments on private agricultural lands.

In Yamhill County, the EQIP funding is available within two strategic focus areas within the county—one for private non-industrial forestlands, and one for farmland in the Lower Yamhill River Watershed.

The forestry funding targets priority forest sites that have had the greatest ecological need for increased bio-diversity as determined by local knowledge from landowners, partners and the Yamhill Soil and Water Conservation District. Eligible woodland owners may receive assistance to help them perform conservation practices such as pre-commercial thinning, slash treatments, tree and shrub plantings, forest management plans, and other select activities that will promote forest health and diverse wildlife habitat. These practices also reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire by removing excess, overstocked timber stands and leaving less fuel to feed a fire.

Additional funding is available to ag producers in the Lower Yamhill River and its tributaries to help them reduce sediment runoff from cropland, which can negatively impact water quality and habitat for fish including endangered salmon species. This strategy also addresses irrigation efficiency by upgrading on-farm irrigation controls that keep more water in-stream for fish while saving water and energy for farmers. Through this strategy, eligible landowners may receive assistance to perform a variety of conservation practices, including irrigation upgrades, reduced tillage, cover crops, riparian forest buffers, and more.

Additional EQIP funding is available for organic farmers and for producers wishing to transition their farm to organic; and for producers wishing to extend crop production seasons through installing a Seasonal High Tunnel.

For more information about EQIP eligibility and to download an application, visit the Oregon EQIP webpage.

For more information and to apply, contact Thomas Hoskins, District Conservationist, at the USDA McMinnville Service Center, located at 2200 SW 2nd Street in McMinnville, or call 503-376-7605.

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