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 or contact your local NRCS office.