Farmers and landowners in portions of 13 Arkansas counties have until January 18, 2013, to submit applications to receive cost-share assistance to implement conservation practices through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Ground Water Decline Initiative. Applicants can sign up at the local USDA NRCS field service centers in Arkansas, Clay, Craighead, Cross, Greene, Jefferson, Lee, Lonoke, Poinsett, Prairie, Pulaski, St. Francis and White Counties.

Land treatment and structural practices will be installed on a voluntary basis in the project area using the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

“While Arkansas has an abundance of good quality ground water in most parts of the state, ground water is being depleted faster than the rate of recharge in the primary agricultural area for cultivated crops,” said Mike Sullivan, NRCS state conservationist for Arkansas.

“Though there is a critical decline of ground water in the aquifer beneath these increasingly irrigated acres, NRCS uses its programs and technical expertise to install systems that convert from ground water use to surface water utilizing the state’s annual rainfall,” Sullivan said.