The U.S. Department of Agriculture has increased the percent of cost-share funding it will provide California almond growers for certain water-saving practices.


Among those are practices that improve irrigation management and pruning to keep trees alive, according ot a news release.


The USDA will now pay up to 75 percent compared with the standard 50 percent cost-share. The deadline to apply is May 8.


The cost-sharing funding for almond producers is available in the following counties: Butte, Colusa, Fresno, Glenn, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced, Monterey, Sacramento, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, Tulare, Yolo and Yuba.


The USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service has $2 million to fund these and other soil- and water-conservation programs.


The eligibility requirements for this program are the same as for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, or EQIP.


For more information, visit www.ca.nrcs.usda.gov or contact your local NRCS office.