This is the first time that these funds have been made available for weed control through the NRCS's Environmental Quality Incentive Program. This is a cost-share program, designed to share in the expense of the control of targeted noxious weeds on private lands within the county. The NRCS will pay approximately 50 percent of the cost to treat the weeds.
In many cases landowners will also be eligible for the county's Noxious Weed Cost Share Program (funded by the County, the Conservation District and two other grants) which would substantially cut the cost of returning weed infested ground to a more natural and productive state.
Details are still being worked out but the money available will be limited to a few weeds that are relatively uncommon on crop or grazing lands but which represent a serious threat to the productivity of these lands. Property containing populations of Oxeye Daisy, Yellow Toadflax, Spotted Knapweed, and Leafy Spurge will be eligible for the program in 2006. Weed Control, under this program, may include revegetation efforts and other approved practices to establish noxious weed-free agricultural lands.
To be eligible for the NRCS program landowners must be agricultural producers, and must sign up their farms or ranches with the United States Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency. The Farm Service Agency office for San Miguel County is located in Dove Creek, Colo. (970/677-2248) and representatives are in Norwood once a month. Small property owners, subdivisions and those with noxious weeds that are ineligible for the federal program may still be eligible for the county program.
Once application is made, landowners will be eligible to continue receiving assistance for at least three years without reapplying. Three years is generally considered to be the minimum time required to eliminate undesirable plants while working to establish more desirable vegetation.
If you are interested in participating, or need help in identifying the above-mentioned weeds, please contact Sheila Grother, San Miguel County Weed Control Program, 327-0399, or Jim Boyd, USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, 327-4245.