USDA launches fund to help drought-stricken California farmers

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will make $20 million available to California farmers to boost water conservation efforts amid one of the worst droughts in state history.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the program was the first of more to come to assist California’s growers and ranchers, some of whom are faced with fallowing land and liquidating herds because of the lack of water.

“We are doing everything within our power to support those farmers and ranchers affected by this intense drought,”  Vilsack said in a media briefing Tuesday. “These funds will help get a suite of scientifically proven conservation techniques on the ground.”

Those techniques include more efficient irrigation systems, grazing land protection and promoting cover crops to preserve soil fertility.

The funding is made available through the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service's Environmental Quality Incentives Program, which is aimed at helping farmers who are facing environmental threats.

Applicants should contact their local Natural Resources Conservation Service office.

More information on the initiative can be found at



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