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 and landowners in Chase, Dundy and Perkins counties to get reimbursed for one-half the cost of up to three soil moisture probes used in 2020.
The application period begins now. Applications will be accepted and approved on a first-come, first-served basis until all available cost share has been obligated.
The cost share program in 2020 is aided by a $86,000 grant the NRD received from the Nebraska Water Sustainability Fund, which is overseen by the Nebraska Natural Resources Commission. The grant also helped cost-share probes in 2019.
The grant will pay 30% of probes and related costs; the URNRD will pay 20% and farmers will pay the remaining half.
Cost share can be applied to all moisture probe-related services as 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 the irrigation scheduling recommendations has been demonstrated to reduce water use by about one to two inches per acre.
Since the NRD began offering cost share for probes in 2011, producers have used the programs to install about 625 probes on approximately 81,000 acres in the district, according to NRD officials.
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.
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 Street 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 email@example.com.