>Seventeen western states have been allocated $53 million to help deal with an extended drought and to help underground aquifers.
Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman appropriated the funds to Natural Resources Conservation offices through the Ground and Surface Water Conservation provision of the Environmental Quality Incentives program authorized in the 2002 Farm Bill.
States that receive these funds will provide cost-share and incentive payments to producers who under take conservation practices.
Federal financial and technical resources are being concentrated in key western watersheds with the Klamath River Basin of Oregon and California and the High Plains Aquifer region high on the priority list.
To receive the funds growers will have to make water conservation improvements in their irrigation practices, convert to less water-intensive crops and/or move to dry land farming.
The states and their allocations: Arizona, $2 million; California, $11.5 million; Colorado, $4.4 million; Idaho, $4.5 million; Kansas, $4.1 million; Montana, $2.4 million; Nebraska, $5.6 million; Nevada, $770,000; New Mexico, $1.3 million; North Dakota, $107,000;
Oklahoma, $962,000; Oregon, $2.1 million; South Dakota, $504,000; Texas, $7 million; Utah, $1.2 million; Washington, $2.1 million, and Wyoming, $2.2 million. (Figures are rounded off.)
Funding is based on irrigated acres and use of surface and underground water.
Additional information can be found at: http://disaster.usda.gov.