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Sheridan County Local Workgroup Meeting To Discuss Funding Priorities For USDA

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The 2024 Sheridan County Local Workgroup (LWG) Meeting will be on Wednesday May 20th at 1:30pm at the Sheridan County Conservation District office. 

The LWG provides recommendations to the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) for implementation of Farm Bill conservation programs. 

In addition to the Conservation District Board, representatives from the Farm Service Agency/County Committee, State and Federal Agencies, local government officials, and other partners have participated in the Local Work Group in the past. 

The 2008 Farm Bill also opened the Local Work Group for public participation. 

The purpose of the meeting is to identify program and funding priorities for the 2025 USDA Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

EQIP is probably one of the most widely used programs in Sheridan County for installation of natural resource conservation practices. 

It has been used to fund fencing, stockwater developments, irrigation upgrades, invasives grass treatments, among other things. 

Program funding is awarded on a competitive basis based on funding priorities and ranking criteria established by the LWG for the upcoming year.  

It is important to note that the LWG does not review, rank, discuss, or approve individual project applications. 

Some questions that will be considered during the meeting include:

  • What are the highest priority natural resource concerns that should be addressed through USDA programs
  • What concerns/project types should receive the highest (and/or lowest) priority for EQIP funding
  • What concerns/project types are not being addressed adequately?

In 2013, NRCS transitioned from a County-by-County funding allocation to a more regional prioritization.

During that time, Sheridan County was combined with Johnson County for funding allocations and project ranking. 

The agency returned to single county allocations in 2024. 

While funds are allocated at the discretion of Congress, the LWG provides the opportunity to direct how the funds will be used locally.

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