Senator Max Baucus today announced the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has extended the deadline for Montana farmers to sign up for financial assistance planting cover crops where flooding has prevented them from planting spring crops.  NRCS announced it would extend the deadline for the 2011 Cover Crop Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) Special Initiative from June 24 to July 8 after Baucus sent a letter  to Chief Dave White last week urging more time for Montana farmers. 

 “Recent flooding has hit at the heart of rural Montana communities and devastated precious farmland.  We’re looking under every rock to find options for supporting Montana’s recovery.  EQIP is just one more tool our farmers have at their disposal, and this extension will make sure folks who want this help can take advantage,” Baucus said. “As we continue to press our federal partners for additional support, I urge Montana farmers, ranchers, businesses owners and communities to contact my office; we’re here to help in any way we can.”    

 With recent flooding leaving much of Montana’s farmland too wet to plant spring crops,  Montana producers can use the EQIP Special Initiative to plant cover crops to protect against soil erosion, increase soil health, provide cover and food for many wildlife species, and provide forage for livestock.

According to NRCS land targeted for this initiative includes cropland and hay land that could have or would have been planted to a crop, but were not due to weather-caused delays. 

 Montana producers interested in applying for the special initiative funding should visit the Montana NRCS Web site at www.mt.nrcs.usda.gov/contact/offices/index.html and submit applications through their local NRCS Service Center.

Story by Jennifer, Donohue