USDA Offering Sandhills Producers Funds to Combat Invasive Trees

USDA Offering Sandhills Producers Funds to Combat Invasive Trees
Areas of focus for NRCS funding are in green.

LINCOLN – Through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Nebraska producers have funding opportunities to help address the spread of invasive woody vegetation on rangeland. Landowners interested in receiving funding should apply at their local NRCS field office by November 18, 2022.

With funding through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), farmers can adopt management practices that help treat the spread of Eastern red cedar trees and other invasive woody vegetation on rangeland.

NRCS is targeting funding to address this natural resource concern through its Nebraska Great Plains Grassland Initiative (GPGI). The initiative is part of the NRCS Working Lands for Wildlife (WLFW) framework to conserve grassland regions in the Great Plains.

Management practices eligible for financial assistance through the program include brush management, prescribed grazing, grazing deferment, prescribed burning, and more.

The NRCS is focusing this funding on farms and ranches in the Sandhills, Loess Canyons, southwest mixed-grass prairies, and Verdigris-Bazile creek watershed.

According to NRCS, removing Eastern red cedar at lower densities before they take over the rangeland is more cost-effective for the producer, conserves and restores forage production, reduces wildfire risk, and protects wildlife habitat. Currently, an estimated 8 million acres of Nebraska’s intact grasslands are at risk of woody encroachment.