Farmers and landowners in portions of Conway, Yell, Pope and Van Buren counties in Arkansas have until July 1, 2012, to submit applications to receive financial assistance to implement conservation practices through the Point Remove Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watershed Initiative (MRBI) project.

Under MRBI, USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will provide technical and financial assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program for the project.

The goal of the five-year project, sponsored by the Point Remove Wetlands Reclamation and Irrigation District, is to reduce the nutrient loss from agricultural land (primary crops are soybean, corn and wheat) through improved nutrient use efficiency and reduced runoff from agricultural fields. The focus of the conservation efforts will be utilization of conservation practices to reduce nutrient runoff and improve irrigation water management. There are many conservation practices available for landowners such as underground irrigation pipeline for irrigation.

Landowners interested in signing up or wanting more information should contact one of the following NRCS Field Service Centers: Conway County, (501) 354-2000, ext. 3; Yell County, (479) 495-2441 ext. 3; Pope County, (479) 968-3881, ext. 3; or Van Buren County (501) 745-5161, ext. 3.

Additional information about the MRBI project, a project area map and conservation practices, is available here.