INDIANAPOLIS -- The drought of 2012 has caused serious degradation to many natural resource concerns in Indiana, including wildlife cover, livestock forage, wildlife and livestock water and soil quality.
Recently, USDA's Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) State Conservationist Jane Hardisty announced the agency will conduct a special signup to assist drought stricken producers through the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP).
The deadline for producers to signup is Aug. 20.
On Aug. 2, Indiana NRCS started accepting Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) 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, wells, etc.
The primary purpose of the WHIP signup is to protect wildlife habitat by providing wildlife access to cover and water during the fall and winter as well as allow pastors to recover from the drought, Hardisty said.
"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," she added. "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 is available on the Indiana NRCS website at www.in.nrcs.usda.gov/drought.html, or by visiting the local USDA-NRCS field office.
Log on to www.in.nrcs.usda.gov/contact/directory/f... to find the nearest USDA Service Center.