U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Funds Available to Help Farmers Protect Stream Banks

Carol Sanders | UAPB School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences

CALF Focus Areas include counties in northwestern and southwestern Arkansas. Applications from the Focus Area will receive higher rankings than proposals from outside the Focus Areas.

CALF Focus Areas include counties in northwestern and southwestern Arkansas. Applications from the Focus Area will receive higher rankings than proposals from outside the Focus Areas.

PINE BLUFF, Ark. – Farmers and ranchers have another opportunity for funding to help fence stream and river banks to reduce the impact of livestock on streambank erosion, says Dr. David Fernandez, Cooperative Extension Program livestock specialist at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. The program, Controlled Access and Livestock Fencing (CALF) Initiative, is open to all landowners, including corporations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and municipal and county governments other than states or the federal government.

January 15, 2015, is the sign-up deadline for CALF. To be eligible, applicants must have a history of livestock on the property in the past three years or plan to put livestock on the property in the next six months. The land must already be in pasture; the program cannot be used to convert a property to pasture.

“Unlike many federal programs, there is no adjusted gross income limit on eligibility. Applicants must agree to keep the stream-bank fenced for 11 years,” says Dr. Fernandez.

CALF is not just for fencing. Gates, stream crossings, controlled access points, troughs, pipelines, pumps, heavy use area protection and solar panels are also eligible costs if steam fencing is part of the application, says Dr. Fernandez. Of course, all of these must be necessary to prevent stream-bank erosion, and all must be maintained for the life of the contract.

The program aims to protect highly erodible streambanks, but this does not exclude all use. The fenced area can be mowed or flash-grazed to control vegetation and weds. Rankings will be lower for projects that include mowing or grazing, however. The program is available statewide, but proposals from the Focus Areas will be ranked higher, he says.

Funds from CALF cannot be combined with EQIP funds from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and they cannot be used for the same fencing projects. “Obviously, the federal government does not want to double pay for the same project,” says Dr. Fernandez. Before signing up for CALF, Dr. Fernandez recommends checking with NRCS to see if EQIP or Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) may be better programs for your farm’s resource conservation needs.

Applications will be ranked by Jan. 31, and producers should be informed shortly thereafter.

For more information on this and other livestock questions, Dr. Fernandez can be reached at (870) 575-7214 or fernandezd@uapb.edu.

The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Program offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

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