State grant, NRD providing cost share for soil moisture probes

Cost-share funds that pay for one-half of the cost of soil moisture probes are available from the Upper Republican NRD.

The NRD is accepting applications from ag producers/landowners in Chase, Dundy and Perkins Counties to get reimbursed for the cost of up to three soil moisture probes used in 2019. 

The application period has begun. Applications will be accepted and approved on a first-come, first-serve basis until all available cost share has been obligated, said Nate Jenkins, NRD assistant manager.

The cost-share program in 2019 is aided by an $86,000 grant the NRD recently received from the Nebraska Water Sustainability Fund, which is overseen by the Nebraska Natural Resources Commission. 

The grant will pay 30 percent of probes and related costs. 

The URNRD will pay 20 percent and farmers will pay the remaining half.

Cost share can be applied to all moisture probe-related services so long as the cost of the actual probe is included. 

For example, when cost share is applied to the cost of buying or renting the probe, cost share can also be used towards probe installation and subscription fees.

Using soil moisture probes and following irrigation scheduling recommendations they offer have been demonstrated to reduce water use by about 2 inches per acre. 

Since the NRD began offering cost share for probes in 2012, producers have used the programs to install probes on approximately 67,000 acres in the district, Jenkins said.

There are no restrictions on what types of soil-moisture probes can be used, but the probes must be used within the Upper Republican NRD, he added.

To apply for cost-share, get an application form from the URNRD website at www.urnrd.org or pick one up at the office at 511 East Fifth St. in Imperial. 

Completed forms can be dropped off at the office, mailed to the office at Upper Republican NRD, PO Box 1140, Imperial, NE 69033 or scanned and emailed to natejenkins@urnrd.org.

The Grant Tribune-Sentinel

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