Land Treatment

Land Treatment

Land treatment is the construction or installation of conservation practices to prevent or reduce soil erosion, sedimentation, and water contamination, and to assist with management of both surface water and groundwater.  Many land treatment practices result in an additional benefit including the creation of habitat for wildlife.
 
The district administers a land treatment program that receives funding from the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources (NeDNR) through the Nebraska Soil and Water Conservation Program (NSWCP).  The district’s board also budgets local tax dollars to fund this program.  The district also administers the Nebraska Buffer Strip Program which receives funding from the Nebraska Department of Agriculture.
 

Land Treatment Program Overview

Land Treatment Program Overview
Land Treatment Program Overview

This program provides technical assistance and financial incentives for soil and water conservation measures in the Upper Big Blue NRD.  The district’s technical guidelines and funding procedures generally coincide with USDA and Nebraska Department of Natural Resources (NDNR) programs. 

Applications for funding are handled by the NRD and NRCS offices.  Cost-sharing rates are based on state average costs determined by the NRCS’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program.
 
The district prefers to use state funds first and district funds only after other sources are exhausted.
 
Applications for land treatment funds are affected by the following limitations and requirements, as a condition of application acceptance and payment:

  1. Application for land treatment assistance must be made through a local NRCS or (in some cases) NRD office.
  2. Practices installed with land treatment cost-share assistance must be properly maintained by the landowner.
  3. If the project is removed, altered or modified so as to lessen its effectiveness within the design life of the project and after receipt of payment, the landowner(s) must refund all cost-share funds used for the project.  This condition will be binding on heirs, assigns or other transferees.
  4. Practices must be planned and installed in accordance with the technical specifications of the NRCS or specifications authorized by the appropriate cost-sharing agency.
  5. An authorized technician must make prior determination that the practices are feasible on the site where they are to be installed, that they are properly planned and installed and the estimates of quantities are proper and reasonable.
  6. Applications are screened for compliance with Upper Big Blue NRD rules and regulations prior to being accepted as eligible for the district’s Land Treatment Program. After the application has been reviewed by the NRD staff, the landowner will be notified that the application is eligible, needs additional information, or does not meet policy criteria.
  7. Within two weeks of the time the applicant wants to begin construction, the applicant must contact the district for authorization to begin construction. The district’s land treatment coordinator will determine if funds are still available.  If funds are available, the coordinator will issue an authorization number.
  8. Once authorization is given and funds are appropriated, the landowner has 90 days to complete the project.  Windbreak Planting and Windbreak Renovation are allowed 18 months to complete the project (renovations only).
  9. On completion of construction or installation of the practice, the landowner is responsible for submitting all labor and materials bills to the NRCS for final payment determination.
  10. Cost-share payments to each landowner must not exceed the total cost-share limit per landowner for the district’s fiscal year.  Limits for specific cost-share practices are found under the descriptions of each practice in the following pages. 
  11. State and district funds will be paid directly to the landowner, with the exception that some irrigation practices allow the tenant to be responsible for the practice and receive the cost-share; in this case the landowner must sign a waiver.
  12. The NRD will not provide cost-share assistance on any repair, replacement, conversion or maintenance of Land Treatment practices during the design life of the practice.  Within its original design life, a practice may be converted from one practice to another, if the conversion is needed and practical and will be planned in accordance with NRCS technical specifications. However, no cost-share assistance will be made on such conversions.
  13. The State of Nebraska and the Upper Big Blue NRD’s fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30. Any reference to year under the Land Treatment section of this publication refers to fiscal year.
  14. Each landowner is limited to a maximum of $7,500 in cost-share funds in a fiscal year.  The only exception is that, using NSWCP funds, up to an additional $2,500 maybe available when a landowner applies to build a water impoundment dam.  To make use of NSWCP funds over $7,500 for a water impoundment dam, the applicant should not apply for any other land treatment funds in that fiscal year.  Water Impoundment Dams are required to have a water storage right granted by NeDNR. State (Nebraska Soil and Water Conservation Program—NSWCP) and NRD funds may not be combined for any practice.
  15. The landowner is required to provide power of attorney on forms approved by the district, as well as a W9 and Citizenship Form. 

 

Terraces (NC-1)

Terraces (NC-1)
Terraces (NC-1)
This practice is designed to control erosion on cropland and to reduce pollution of water from non-point sources.  A terrace intercepts surface runoff and conducts it to a stable outlet at a non-erosive velocity.
 
Cost-Share Rate

The cost-share rate will be either 75% of the state average cost (minus other cost-share funds) or 75% of the actual cost (minus other cost-share funds), whichever is less.  The maximum cost-share is $7,500 per landowner per year, including all NSWCP and NRD cost-share received for the fiscal year. NSWCP and NRD funds will not be combined for any practice.  The minimum cost-share payment is $100.
 

Mechanical Outlets (NC-2)

Mechanical Outlets (NC-2)
Mechanical Outlets (NC-2)
Mechanical outlets are designed to provide non-erosive discharge of runoff from diversions and terraces.
 
Cost-Share Rate
The cost-share rate will be either 75% of the state average cost (minus other cost-share funds) or 75% of the actual cost (minus other cost-share funds), whichever is less.  The maximum cost-share is $7,500 per landowner per year, including all NSWCP and NRD cost-share received for the fiscal year. NSWCP and NRD funds will not be combined for any practice.  The minimum cost-share payment is $100.
 

Water Impoundment Dams (NC-3)

Water Impoundment Dams (NC-3)
Water Impoundment Dams (NC-3)
This practice is designed to provide storage of surface water runoff.  Dams are constructed across either normally dry or flowing water courses and provide stored water to replace or supplement the use of groundwater.  In addition, these impoundments enhance groundwater recharge, prevent erosion and pollution and provide flood control and wildlife habitat. 
 
The following rules govern dam design, construction and operation:
  1. In accordance with Nebraska law, all water impoundment dams designed for storage must be constructed in a manner that allows inflow to be released on demand by senior downstream water right holders. This means that all spillway outlet works must be equipped with a draw down tube and control valve.  The district requires two-thirds of the conservation storage to be above the control valve elevation.
  2. The district requires that a permit for water storage must be received from the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources. 
  3. Nebraska law requires that all dams, no matter what size, for which a storage right is requested must have drawings and specifications submitted to the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources.

Grade Stabilization Structures (NC-4)

Grade Stabilization Structures (NC-4)
Grade Stabilization Structures (NC-4)
This practice is designed to stabilize the grade in an existing water course to prevent or heal gully erosion. This is a structural practice which includes erosion control dams, drop structures and other measures designed to control the flow of water and stop erosion.
 
Cost-Share Rate
The cost-share rate will be either 75% of the state average cost (minus other cost-share funds) or 75% of the actual cost (minus other cost-share funds), whichever is less.  The maximum cost-share is $7,500 per landowner per year, including all NSWCP and NRD cost-share received for the fiscal year. NSWCP and NRD funds will not be combined for any practice.  The minimum cost-share payment is $100.
 

Diversions (NC-6)

Diversions (NC-6)
Diversions (NC-6)
The purpose of this practice is to divert runoff away from active gullies and structures and conduct it to a non-erosive outlet.
 
Cost-Share Rate
The cost-share rate will be either 75% of the state average cost (minus other cost-share funds) or 75% of the actual cost (minus other cost-share funds), whichever is less.  The maximum cost-share is $7,500 per landowner per year, including all NSWCP and NRD cost-share received for the fiscal year. NSWCP and NRD funds will not be combined for any practice.  The minimum cost-share payment is $100.

Grassed Waterways (NC-7)

Grassed Waterways (NC-7)
Grassed Waterways (NC-7)
Grassed waterways are designed to provide non-erosive discharge of runoff from fields, diversions, terraces and other structures by carrying runoff from the owner’s property to a natural water course.
 
Cost-Share Rate
The cost-share rate will be either 75% of the state average cost (minus other cost-share funds) or 75% of the actual cost (minus other cost-share funds), whichever is less.  The maximum cost-share is $7,500 per landowner per year, including all NSWCP and NRD cost-share received for the fiscal year. NSWCP and NRD funds will not be combined for any practice.  The minimum cost-share payment is $100.
 

Sediment Control Basins (NC-8)

Sediment Control Basins (NC-8)
Sediment Control Basins (NC-8)
This practice is designed to intercept and detain surface water to reduce on-site erosion, to reduce sediment transported by water, to reduce peak flow rates to non-erosive velocity, and retard gully development.
 
Cost-Share Rate
The cost-share rate will be either 75% of the state average cost (minus other cost-share funds) or 75% of the actual cost (minus other cost-share funds), whichever is less.  The maximum cost-share is $7,500 per landowner per year, including all NSWCP and NRD cost-share received for the fiscal year.  NSWCP and NRD funds will not be combined for any practice.  The minimum cost-share payment is $100. 

Pasture Planting or Range Seeding--Land Use Conversion (NC-10)

Pasture Planting or Range Seeding--Land Use Conversion (NC-10)
Pasture Planting or Range Seeding--Land Use Conversion (NC-10)
The purpose of this practice is to establish grass on land being converted from other uses or to renovate existing pasture or range.  Cost-share is available for the seed, application and chemicals used for seedbed preparation when seeding in existing cover.  This practice may be applied as part of a conservation management system to reduce soil erosion by wind or water, provide emergency forage and extend the length of the grazing season.  It may be applied on crop land, hay land, pasture land and other agricultural lands where forage production is feasible and desired.
 
Plant species and their cultivars must be based upon the following general criteria:
  1. Climate conditions: annual rainfall, seasonal rainfall patterns, growing season length, humidity levels and temperature extremes and USDA Plant Hardiness Zones.
  2. Plant resistance to disease and insects common to the site or location.
  3. Soil conditions and position attributes such as pH, available water holding capacity, flooding potential, inherent fertility, salinity and alkalinity.
  4. Capability of forage species to meet desired level of nutrition for the kind and class of the livestock to be fed.
All seed and planting material must be labeled and meet State of Nebraska seed quality standards.  Legume seed must be inoculated with proper, viable rhizobia before planting.  Forage species selected for establishment must fulfill a recognized dietary deficiency within the yearlong forage management program.
 
Landowner’s Responsibilities
The landowner must comply with NRCS reporting requirements for this program.
 
Cost-Share Rate
The cost-share rate will be either 75% of the state average cost (minus other cost-share funds) or 75% of the actual cost (minus other cost-share funds), whichever is less.  The maximum cost-share is $7,500 per landowner per year, including all NSWCP and NRD cost-share received for the fiscal year. NSWCP and NRD funds will not be combined for any practice.  The minimum cost-share payment is $100.
 

Windbreak Planting (NC-12)

Windbreak Planting (NC-12)
Windbreak Planting (NC-12)
This practice provides for planting new or replacement windbreaks.  As part of the district’s seedling sales program (see the Conservation and Parks Chapter), applicants may purchase seedlings from the district for spring planting under this practice.  Cost-share payment is made once the planting is completed and an NRCS or NRD technician certifies that the planting meets NRCS specifications.
 
Cost-Share Rate
NRD Cost-Share: The cost-share rate will be either 75% of the estimated cost (minus other cost-share funds) or 75% of the actual cost (minus other cost-share funds), whichever is less.  The maximum cost-share is $7,500 per landowner per year, including all NSWCP and NRD cost-share received for the fiscal year.  The minimum cost-share payment is $100.
 

Planned Grazing Systems (NC-14)

Planned Grazing Systems (NC-14)
Planned Grazing Systems (NC-14)
The purpose of this practice is to promote proper management of grazing land resources and assist producers in implementing their grazing management plans.  General benefits include:
  • maintenance of existing plant cover while properly using the forage of each grazing unit
  • reduction of erosion and improvement of water quality
  • increased efficiency by uniformly using all parts of each grazing unit
  • improved plant vigor and quality and increased forage production
  • wildlife habitat enhancement
  • improved flexibility in the grazing program
  • buffer against the adverse effects of drought
  • energy conservation through reduced use of fossil fuel
A Planned Grazing System is a practice in which two or more grazing units are alternately rested and grazed in a planned sequence for a period of years.  Rest periods can be throughout the year or might only occur during the growing season of key plants.
 
The NRCS tailors a specific plan to meet each operator’s objectives.  Each plan is designed to fit the size and number of grazing units, climate, kind and condition of grazing land, kinds and classes of grazing animals and herd numbers.  A grazing plan includes movement of livestock from one grazing unit to another.
 
Components of this practice that are not eligible for cost-share include:
  • boundary fencing
  • suspension cross fencing
  • rodent control
Landowner’s Responsibilities
The landowner must comply with NRCS reporting requirements for this program.
 
Cost-Share Rate
The cost-share rate will be either 75% of the state average cost (minus other cost-share funds) or 75% of the actual cost (minus other cost-share funds), whichever is less.  The maximum cost-share is $7,500 per landowner per year, including all NSWCP and NRD cost-share received for the fiscal year. NSWCP and NRD funds will not be combined for any practice.  The minimum cost-share payment is $100.

Windbreak Renovation (NC-16)

Windbreak Renovation (NC-16)
Windbreak Renovation (NC-16)
This practice provides site preparation and clearing for the renovation of farmstead and field windbreaks that have been rendered substantially ineffective due to the death of trees from weather, disease or other natural causes.  This practice includes a commitment to replant the windbreak.  Unlike other Land Treatment practices, the applicant for this practice has 18-months to complete the project from the time he or she is authorized.  The 18-month completion time allows for removal of old trees and replanting new trees.
 
Windbreak Planning
Specifications are to be based on NRCS Technical Guides.  The windbreak renovation plan is to be reviewed and approved by a forester of the Nebraska Forest Service.  The forester is to certify that the windbreak has lost its effectiveness, should be renovated, and approve the plan of renovation.
 
Practice Limits
  1. In no instance will a cost share payment be based on a cost greater than the statewide average cost per acre adopted by the FSA-USDA for this practice.
  2. Items of work to be cost-shared will be determined in accordance with NRCS Technical Guidelines for windbreak renovation.
  3. This practice does not include replanting the windbreak.  Those costs could be eligible for cost-share under Practice NC-12.  Otherwise, windbreak replanting costs must be paid from other sources.
  4. A landowner will not become eligible for cost-share on a windbreak renovation practice unless the landowner also agrees to replant the windbreak.  No cost-share payment for a windbreak renovation practice will be made until the windbreak has been replanted.
Cost-Share Rate
NRD Cost-Share: The cost-share rate will be either 75% of the state average cost (minus other cost-share funds) or 75% of the actual cost (minus other cost-share funds), whichever is less.  The maximum cost-share $7,500 per landowner per year, including all NSWCP and NRD cost-share received for the fiscal year.  The minimum cost-share payment is $100.
 
 

Streambank Stabilization (NC-18)

Streambank Stabilization (NC-18)
Streambank Stabilization (NC-18)
This practice restores and protects stream banks and riparian areas adjacent to minor water courses where the banks are subject to damage from stream bank erosion and upstream conditions are stable.  Earth fill, rock riprap, grass seeding, trees, fencing, underground outlets, pipes, sand, gravel and concrete may be used to stabilize the stream bank.  A buffer strip of native vegetation, at least 30 feet wide, will be planted at the top of the bank.
 
Cost-Share Rate

The cost-share rate will be either 75% of the state average cost (minus other cost-share funds) or 75% of the actual cost (minus other cost-share funds), whichever is less.  The maximum cost-share is $7,500 per landowner per year, including all NSWCP and NRD cost-share received for the fiscal year. NSWCP and NRD funds will not be combined for any practice.  The minimum cost-share payment is $100.
 

Brush Management (NC-20)

Brush Management (NC-20)
Brush Management (NC-20)
This practice is for the purpose of removing or reducing woody vegetation to restore natural plant community balance, create the desired plant community, and reduce competition between desired and unwanted plants.
 
This practice is to be planned in accordance to NRCS technical guidelines, and in a manner that will not adversely affect threatened or endangered species (plant or animal) or their habitat.
 
Cost-Share Rate
The cost-share rate will be either 75% of the state average cost (minus other cost-share funds) or 75% of the actual cost (minus other cost-share funds), whichever is less.  The maximum cost-share is $7,500 per landowner per year, including all NSWCP and NRD cost-share received for the fiscal year. The minimum cost-share payment is $100.
 

Irrigation Water Management Practices (NC-17)

Irrigation Water Management Practices (NC-17)
Irrigation Water Management Practices (NC-17)
Landowner’s Responsibilities that apply to all  NC-17  practices:
  • The purpose of these practices is to encourage the efficient use of groundwater for irrigation. 
  • The land covered by the application must have been irrigated for four of the previous five years.  NOTE: No more than a 10% net increase in irrigated acres is allowed.  The cost-share rate is 50%. 
  • Local NRCS staff will determine if the individual application meets the potential for required water savings. 
 
SUBSURFACE DRIP IRRIGATION SYSTEMS—Gravity to SDI (NC-17)

Subsurface drip irrigation systems provide conduits to evenly distribute water, fertilizer, pesticides and herbicides to the root zone of a crop.  Using this irrigation system, it is possible to minimize leaching of chemicals into the groundwater since only the required amount is applied to the root zone and not the areas in between.  By controlling the area and the rate at which water, fertilizer or chemicals are applied, soil moisture can be optimized.
 
Irrigation water must be analyzed in order to determine which filters should be used, which chemicals are compatible with the water, and how the water reacts with your soil.  With water analysis, filter manufacturers, fertilizer and chemical dealers will be able to make recommendations on which of their products will perform best, given water composition.
 
Cost-share assistance on subsurface drip irrigation systems must be installed in accordance with NRCS standards and specifications. Eligible components include:
  • filtration system(s)
  • necessary valves and controllers
  • pipe and fittings for mains, sub-mains and manifold lines
  • flush lines, drip tape, chemical injection port and other appurtenances necessary for meeting NRCS standards and specifications
Costs not included are:
  • pumping plant
  • fertilizer or chemical injection systems
  • electrical installations
 
Cost-Share Rate
The cost-share rate for any NC-17 practice, or combination of practices, will be either 50% of the state average cost (minus other cost-share funds), or 50% of actual cost (minus other cost-share funds), whichever is less.  The maximum total NC-17 cost-share available to a landowner, on up to 160 contiguous acres, is $7,500, per landowner per year, including all NSWCP and NRD cost-share received for the fiscal year.  The minimum cost-share payment on any practice, or combination of practices is $100. 
 
 

Dry Hydrant Program

Dry Hydrant Program
Dry Hydrant Program
This program provides cost-share to rural fire departments within the Upper Big Blue Natural Resources district for the construction of dry hydrants at ponds and streams for the purpose of providing access to supplemental water supply when fighting fires.  The Upper Big Blue NRD’s responsibility and obligation under this program is limited to providing minimum design standards and cost-share assistance.  The district assumes no responsibility for the ownership, construction, operation, or maintenance of the dry hydrant, and does not provide any assurance that water will be available from the stream or pond where the hydrant is to be located.
 
Other Requirements
  1. The dry hydrant design and installation must meet the district’s minimum standards.
  2. For cost-share purposes, the service life for dry hydrants is 15 years.  Cost-share applicants must agree to maintain the hydrant for this time period, otherwise repay the entire cost-share.
  3. According to Nebraska Statute, 46-233 ¶ 9 NRS, water may be diverted from any stream, reservoir, or canal by any fire department or emergency response service for the purpose of extinguishing a fire in progress in an emergency without obtaining a permit from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).  The installation of a dry hydrant for this purpose is allowed without the prior permission of DNR, but DNR must be informed of the hydrant installation, its location, and the name of the party responsible for its installation and maintenance within 30 days after the installation.
  4. Each rural fire department applying for cost-share under this program shall be responsible for all permits, land rights including easements and access rights, design, construction, operation,  maintenance, and notification to DNR.
  5. Applications for cost-share on dry hydrants will be approved by the district’s Board of Directors, subject to funding available within the district’s budget for this item.  The applicant must complete the installation within 90 days from the date that funds are obligated, and must provide a copy of the DNR notification to the district.
  6. The applicant is required to submit invoices for materials and labor to verify the actual costs incurred.
 
Cost-Share Rate
Rural fire departments are eligible for a maximum of two dry hydrant applications per year, and the cost-share rate per dry hydrant will be 50% of the actual cost of materials and labor.  The maximum cost-share to be paid by the district is $1,000 per dry hydrant installed.


 

Private Dams Program

Private Dams Program
Private Dams Program
The Private Dams Program provides planning, design and financial assistance for the construction or reconstruction of dams located on private property. These dams generally have a cost exceeding $15,000 and have a drainage area of approximately 80 to 640 acres. Dams constructed under this program generally involve only one landowner. Public benefits include flood control, sediment and erosion control, water conservation, groundwater recharge, and fish and wildlife enhancement.
 
Application and Project Design
Applications for funding are handled by the NRCS or district offices.  Planning, design and construction inspection will normally be provided by the NRCS or the district. If the NRCS or district is unable to provide these services, the landowner may hire a private engineering firm to provide all or part the needed services. The district will assist in preparation of the scope of services needed.
 
Permits and Land Acquisition

The landowner will be responsible for obtaining any required permits or easements for access or use of lands owned by another person. The NRCS and/or district will assist the landowner.  All required permits must be obtained before construction can begin.
 
Maintenance
The landowner shall be responsible for the cost of all normal maintenance. “Normal” maintenance shall include, but not be limited to, preventing over grazing, removal of debris from or near the principle and emergency spillways, soil erosion on the dam, the control and removal of trees and brush on the structure and spillways. If repairs are needed, due to a major storm event, which are deemed, by the district, to be in excess of “normal” maintenance, the district will consider cost-share assistance for said repairs on a case-by case basis.  Factors to be considered in determining the need for and merits of repair shall include, but not limited to, cost of the repairs and the age of the structure.
 
Repayment of Cost-share Funds
If the project is removed or the district determines that it has been altered so as to lessen its effectiveness within the design life of the project and after receipt of payment, the landowner(s) must refund all cost-share funds used for the project. This condition will be binding on heirs, assigns or other transferees.
 
Cost-Share Rate
The cost-share rate will be 75% of the engineer’s estimate, or 75% of the actual cost, whichever is less. Eligible costs include construction and design services provided by a private engineering firm. The cost-share of private engineering will only be paid if the dam is constructed.  The maximum cost-share is $50,000.  Final cost above the district approved cost shall be the landowner’s responsibility.

Nebraska Buffer Strip Program

Nebraska Buffer Strip Program
Nebraska Buffer Strip Program
This program encourages landowners to establish vegetative buffer strips along shorelines of streams and lakes.  Buffer strips reduce the levels of sediment and other pollutants reaching the surface water.  Funding comes from a fee assessed on all pesticides registered for use in Nebraska.
 
Land eligible for enrollment in this program is cropland adjacent to perennial and intermittent streams and permanent bodies of water.  Existing buffer strips established after January 1, 1996 are also eligible.
 
Cost-share rates vary depending on whether the land is dryland or irrigated, CRP and soil rental rates, as determined by the Nebraska Agricultural Statistic Reporting District, in which the land is located and are set by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture.  Payments received from other sources will be deducted from the buffer strip payment.  The maximum payment (including funds from other sources) is $150 per acre.  Most payments will be less.  Total minimum payment must be $100.  Contacts that do not meet the minimum payment level can be modified by adding acreage to achieve the minimum dollar amount.
 
General Terms
  1. The contract length can be no less than five nor more than 10 years.
  2. Limited haying and grazing is allowed provided it conforms to NRCS requirements.
  3. Grass, forb, tree and shrub species must conform to NRCS requirements for filter strips or riparian forest buffers.
  4. Minimum width is 20 feet for filter strips and 55 feet for riparian forest buffers (20 feet of riparian forest buffer must be grassed filter strip) unless NRCS requirements are greater.  If the NRCS requirements are greater, the minimum width equals the NRCS requirements.
  5. Maximum width is 100 feet unless the NRCS requirements are greater.  If the NRCS requirements are greater, the maximum width equals the NRCS requirements.
  6. Minimum size per application is one acre.
  7. Failure to maintain the buffer strip according to contracted requirements may result in forfeiture of future and past payments.
  8. Buffer strips will be subject to compliance checks by the NRD, NRCS and/or the Nebraska Department of Agriculture.
Sources of Funds for Land Treatment Practices 
NRD land treatment funds are appropriated each year in the NRD budget and are supported by the district’s local tax revenues.  NSWCP funds are appropriated annually in the state’s budget by the Legislature.  Funds for the Buffer Strip Program come from a fee on pesticides.

Cost-Share Application Process Flowchart

 

Variable Rate Irrigation Pilot Program

Variable Rate Irrigation Pilot Program
Variable Rate Irrigation Pilot Program
The Variable Rate Irrigation (VRI) Pilot Program is intended to provide landowner assistance for the design, installation, and technical support of Variable Rate Irrigation equipment which improves precision application of irrigation water from linear and center pivot systems.  There are three types of VRI control:  speed, zone, and nozzle.  Speed control allows the pivot to speed up or slow down to vary application of water in a pie-type of management.  Zone control allows the system to control sets of nozzles along the span to regulate water application.  Nozzle control is similar to zone control except that each individual nozzle can be controlled. 
 
Irrigation prescriptions are developed by documented, certified professionals.  Prescriptions are calibrated according to soil type, topography, yield data, and other defined field conditions.  Each irrigation prescription applies water according to the specific needs of each individual cell or quadrant of the pivot system.  The Variable Rate Irrigation system will provide the most precise and efficient application of irrigation water. 
 
Properly functioning and managed VRI systems can provide a variety of benefits such as:
  • Lowering the frequency/severity of yield loss and/or stuck pivots due to over irrigation
  • Increasing chemigation application efficiency
  • Decreasing nitrate leaching due to over irrigation
  • Decreasing pumping energy expenses
  • Reduce irrigation application on hillslopes where runoff potential is high, on uncropped areas, and wetlands

The program described below is intended as a Pilot Program, and subject to change.
 
Funding Availability
For approved VRI applications, the maximum cost-share rate is 50% of the state average cost (minus other cost-share funds), or 50% of the actual costs (minus other cost-share funds), whichever is less, up to $7,500.00.  The minimum cost-share payment is $100.00.  NRCS, NSWCP, and NRD funds will not be combined for any practice.  During the initial phase of the Upper Big Blue Natural Resources District (UBBNRD) Pilot VRI program, the amount of NRD funds will be set by the Board each fiscal year.
 
Eligible Cooperators:

  • Only landowners are eligible.
  • All linear and center pivot systems are eligible to apply for funding.
  • The tract of land must have been irrigated four (4) out of the last five (5) years.
  • No more than 10% of the land covered by the VRI system can be newly irrigated acres.
  • A ranking sheet will be used to score each application.
  • Final approval will be decided by the District’s Board of Director’s on a bi-monthly basis until funds are spent.  Application deadlines are as follows:  January 2, March 1, May 1, July 1, September 1, and November 1.
  • During this pilot program, participation will be limited to one (1) VRI system per landowner.

Practice Requirements

  1. Prior to submitting an application:

a.   The VRI system must be designed by a certified pivot manufacturer, or certified VRI system provider.
b.   The VRI system designer must have determined that a VRI system will improve application of irrigation water.

2.    At the time of application:

a.    Complete design documents, cost estimates, and NSWCP-14 “Irrigation Water Management Practice Justification For Approval And Commitment By Landowner” form must accompany the application.

3.    The VRI system must cover a minimum of 60 acres.
4.    Upon completion of the practice: the applicant must submit copies of their VRI Prescription Map and EC data to the district. Applicants are also required to submit three (3) consecutive years of yield maps, and/or yield data, and irrigation scheduling reports.  Failure to submit the above data is subject to funding reimbursement to the district.
 
VRI Components Eligible for Cost-Share Include:

  • Costs eligible for reimbursement include:  panel retrofit, tower boxes, valves, filters, tubing, mounting hardware, and *variable frequency drive (if included in a VRI system). *A variable frequency drive component alone, is not eligible.
  • Data collection, analysis, and prescription mapping. 

 
Approval Process

Approved applications will be notified in writing. Once approved, the applicant must call for an authorization number. Upon authorization, the applicant will have 90 days to complete the practice.  After completion, final invoices and requested Prescription Map and EC data must be turned in to the NRCS for final payment.  Any purchases of materials or services made prior to authorization are not eligible for funding.
 
Cost-Share Rate
The cost-share rate will be either 50% of the state average cost or 50% of the actual cost, whichever is less.  Under UBBNRD’s Land Treatment Program, the maximum cost-share is $7,500 per landowner per year, including all NSWCP and NRD cost-share received for the fiscal year.

2020 EQIP NRD 100% Price List:

Practice Code Practice Name Scenario Total Payment per Unit (100%) 50% Rate
442 Sprinkler Irrigation VRI System Retrofit Speed (TBA)/ft (TBA)/ft
442 Sprinkler Irrigation VRI System Retrofit Zone $34.03/ft  $17.02/ft
533 Pumping Plant Variable Frequency Drive $5,455.54 / ea $2,727.77 / ea

 
Systems/Areas that Might Benefit with Addition of VRI Wetlands Restoration and/or Management
VRI Zone Control (with or without VFD) to facilitate the restoration and/or management of wetland resources adjacent to cropland with a favorable irrigated land capability class.
 
Non-full Circles or Linear

VRI Speed Control to improve Irrigation Water Management of a sprinkler irrigation system that does not operate with 360 degrees of rotation – Example – half-swing or windshield wiper systems due to property boundaries or other physical barriers to complete system rotation.
 
Variable Soil Types
VRI Speed Control or VRI Zone Control (with or without VFD) to facilitate improved Irrigation Water Management and/or nutrient management on treatment of units with variability in soil types as determined by soil surveys or Electrical Conductivity mapping.  Example – defined area of soils with a very high leaching potential, or high potential for soil erosion adjacent to soils with few limitations within the same treatment unit under a single sprinkler irrigation season.
 
Variable Topography

VRI Speed Control or VRI Zone Control (with or without VFD) to facilitate Improved Irrigation Water Management and/or nutrient management on treatment of units with variable topography.  Examples – defined area of changing slopes with high runoff potential and/or high potential for soil erosion, or areas with depressions that experience run-on.
 
Non-Cropped Coverage
VRI Zone Control (with or without VFD) to facilitate improved Irrigation Water Management and/or nutrient management on systems that travel over non-cropped areas such as creeks, pastures, ponds, etc.   Example – system with a drain or creek running through a portion of the field.  Nozzles could be shut off as system crosses non-cropped areas.
 
Cropping Systems
VRI Zone Control or VRI Speed Control to facilitate diversity in cropping systems.  Example – Corn/Soybean rotation with both crops grown in the same year under the same sprinkler irrigation system.
 

 

Land Treatment Cost-Share Application Process

Land Treatment Cost-Share Application Process
Land Treatment Cost-Share Application Process