Programs to Assist Klamath Basin Irrigators in Progress

Contact Information:

Mark Johnson

KWUA Deputy Director


For Immediate Release

March 30, 2020

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has programs to assist growers planting cover crops on land that will not be irrigated in 2020, according to Klamath Water Users Association.  KWUA Deputy Director Mark Johnson said that applications are being taken now at the NRCS Tulelake office for Modoc and Siskiyou Counties through April 14, and the application period will open late this week for Klamath County.  “We’ve been communicating with NRCS early and often to encourage they get these programs out as early as possible this year,” according to Johnson.  “Also, we expect the Klamath Project Drought Response Agency (DRA) programs will take shape soon.”     

The NRCS cover crop programs provide cost-share assistance for planting, with emphasis on highly erodible soils.  Producers in Modoc and Siskiyou counties are urged to submit applications via email or by phone due to the current COVID-19 restrictions.  When the application period opens in Klamath County, residents are urged to apply through Conservation Client Gateway on a first come, first serve basis. 

The DRA, which distributed funds in 2018 to producers who idled land or pumped groundwater, has approximately $1.7 million in hand and hopes to enter contracts and generate additional funding soon. 

DRA board president Marc Staunton said, “We are extremely eager to roll out the best possible program to assist Klamath Project irrigators.”  To stretch the limited irrigation supply even further, Staunton urges growers to consider land idling this year.  Producers who plant cover crops under the NRCS programs are eligible for land idling contracts as long as no irrigation water is applied in 2020.


Photo credit to Tony Pena of Malin

Klamath Water User Association