January Update from NPNRD

January Update from NPNRD


As the we close the book on 2013 and embark on 2014, the North Platte Natural Resources District (NRD) continues to review its programs and projects to make determinations on how we might make them more accessible and user-friendly while at the same time, maintaining the original intent behind the programs and reaching our mission to "protect lives, protect property, and protect the future."

For example, the Conservation Cost-Share Programs are currently being reviewed, and we would like to hear from our constituents on how we might improve them. These programs help us accomplish our statutory mission to help conserve, protect, develop and manage the natural resources of the District by providing financial incentives to landowners to protect soil and other resources. Most of these programs provide a reimbursement to landowners for a portion of the costs they may incur in making improvements to protect resources on their property. These programs are funded by District resources as well as Nebraska Soil and Water Conservation Program (NSWCP) funds appropriated from the State Legislature. More information on these and other NRD programs can be found on our website,

Most cost-share rates have varied from 50-65 percent of actual costs, while some are based on a per acre rate. Technical assistance is provided by USDA's Natural Resources and Conservation Service, and project funding approval is granted by the District Board. Historically, we have held a once per year sign-up for these programs and have funded projects on a first-come, first-served basis.

Our staff is reviewing these criteria and will be making recommendations to the District Operations Subcommittee who will, in turn, make recommendations to the full Board for adjustment. We want to ensure that our cost-share rates are responsive to the reality of cost for some of these practices since there has not been a comprehensive review of some of these rates for nearly 20 years. We also want to study whether it may be more beneficial to the landowner to hold a continuous sign-up for these programs as well as developing a ranking system for the types of applications that we receive, so that the Board may more actively direct funds to those projects that are a priority for the District, rather than simply funding projects on a first-come, first-served basis. Depending on the outcomes of our discussions and the actions by the Subcommittee and ultimately the full Board of Directors, these efforts could have the net effect of modernizing the program and further enhancing our ability to meet our statutory mission.

As we work to address this potential modernization in future weeks and months, I encourage growers and landowners to engage in the process by stopping in at our office with their thoughts, contacting their Board members or simply placing a call and registering their opinions on this effort. We can be reached at 308-632-2749, our website is and our office is located at 100547 Airport Road in Scottsbluff. Our monthly board meetings are also an excellent avenue for constituents to voice their opinions to our locally elected Board. They are held on the second Thursday of each month, at 3:00 p.m. during the winter months, and 7:00 p.m. during the rest of the year. Our next meeting will be Thursday, January 09, at 3:00 p.m. at the North Platte Conference room.