Costa Announces $20 Million in CA Drought Assistance

Washington, DC — Rep. Jim Costa joined U.S Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross to announce $20 million for agriculture water conservation efforts in California to help mitigate the impacts from the ongoing drought. During the call, USDA said that landowners and managers will have until March 3rd to apply for assistance from  Natural Resources Conservation Service.

“Our state is facing a disaster that has the potential to devastate our economy and force many of my constituents out of work,” said Costa. “While we’re all praying for rain, we need all the help we can get in responding to this crisis.

“To a farmer every drop of water is precious, but in years like this it can be the difference between keeping their employees on payroll or being forced to let them go. In my district, water issues have always had a human face.

“I would like to thank Secretary Vilsack and the Administration for this first good step, but we all acknowledge that a much greater effort will be required to respond to the catastrophic drought conditions facing California.”

The funds were made available through the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) that helps farmers use water more efficiently and stabilize fallowed cropland. These statewide funds are available for conservation efforts including irrigation efficiency, cover crops, rehabilitation of existing spring developments, protection of grazing lands, and other supporting components. As a member of the House Agriculture Committee, Costa has been a strong advocate for the EQIP program and other disaster assistance programs.

Growers facing a reduced water allocation of at least 85 percent will receive the highest priority in assistance consideration. For additional information, eligible landowners are encouraged to contact their local NRCS Service Center. Service center locations and more information on the drought initiative can be found at www.ca.nrcs.usda.gov.