RCPP funds available for irrigation monitoring equipment

Are you interested in adding telemetry-based monitoring equipment to the irrigation system on your farm?  If so, stop by your local USDA-NRCS service center to ask about cost-share funding available through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).

This equipment, typically used with a center pivot or subsurface drip irrigation system, allows monitoring data to be transmitted by telemetry to smart phones, tablets, or other handheld devices. These data help determine if irrigation systems are operating at peak efficiency - which results in water and energy savings for producers.

The RCPP program is an option for producers that were unable to receive funding from HPWD's Assistance in Irrigation Management (AIM) program. The $225,000 in grant funding provided by the Texas Water Development Board was claimed by producers in less than two weeks after the program was announced in August.

This equipment is being cost-shared through RCPP, which is administered by the USDA-NRCS, and requires "a flow meter to be installed on the irrigation system where the irrigation system monitoring system is installed as a companion device."  If a contract is awarded, payment for these practices cannot be made until the first year's monitoring data are provided to the NRCS.

About $900,000 in funding was allocated for the five year program (2016-2020). As of Dec. 8, USDA-NRCS officials said the agency has obligated 39 contracts totaling $227,208 on 24,772 acres. This leaves $672,792 in available funds for the remainder of the program.

Participation in RCPP is entirely voluntary. Interested producers can sign up for the program at their local USDA-NRCS service center.

High Plains Underground Water Conservation District (HPWD) in Lubbock serves as the lead RCPP partner. Supporting partners include Hemphill County UWCD in Canadian, Llano Estacado UWCD at Seminole, Mesa UWCD at Lamesa, North Plains GCD at Dumas, Sandy Land UWCD at Plains, and South Plains UWCD at Brownfield.

These groundwater conservation districts do not receive any funding for the program, but provide in-kind services to assist with water conservation efforts.

Additional information about RCPP is available at www.tx.nrcs.usda.gov. USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.