CHAMPAIGN -- State conservationist Ivan Dozier has announced that the U. S. Department of Agriculture-Natural Resources Conservation Service will offer landowners funding to improve Oak-Hickory forest stands using the Regional Conservation Partnership Program.

The Natural Resources Conservation Service has partnered with the Illinois Forestry Development Council to help producers address natural resource concerns of water quality and soil health.

Landowners can apply for both technical and financial assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program to make forest stand improvements, use brush management techniques, install herbaceous weed control, and tree/shrub establishment practices.

The focus of this special effort is to improve conditions and stands of oak-hickory forest land by reducing soil erosion and improving water quality in 37 counties. The only area counties on this list are Clark, Cumberland, Effingham,

Producers and landowners in these locations who are interested in installing these forestry conservation practices on their oak-hickory acres can take advantage of this special conservation funding opportunity.

Simply submit an application to your local Natural Resources Conservation Service field office by the cutoff dates of Jan. 19 and March 16. NRCS reminds producers they can apply for regular Environmental Quality Incentives Program financial assistance at any time throughout the year, as the conservation service accepts applications on a continuous basis.

To see if they are eligible to participate in the program, producers should contact their local Natural Resources Conservation Service field office or visit www.il.nrcs.usda.gov.

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