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News Release

Next Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) cut-off date is May 16, 2014

Contact:
Diane Petit, Public Affairs Officer
413-253-4371, cell 413-835-1276


An NRCS planner and a farmer discuss conservation options in a field.

AMHERST, Mass. (April 11, 2014) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced  May 16th as the next cut-off date for funding under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). All eligible and complete applications received by that date will be evaluated and ranked for available funding.  Massachusetts is slated to receive approximately $3 million in EQIP funding authorized under the new 2014 Farm Bill. 

EQIP provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers and forest land owners to address natural resource concerns and deliver environmental benefits such as improved water and air quality, conserved ground and surface water, reduced soil erosion and sedimentation or improved or created wildlife habitat.

Applications are accepted on a continuous basis and considered for funding in set ranking periods. If you’re a farmer or forest land owner and interested in EQIP, you’re encouraged to call or stop by your local NRCS field office. A planner will discuss with you your vision for your land, the conservation planning process, and how to apply for financial assistance.

USDA Service Center locations are listed on-line at http://offices.usda.govor in the phone book under Federal Government, U.S. Department of Agriculture. General program information is available on the NRCS Massachusetts website at www.ma.nrcs.usda.gov.

“If you operate a farm or manage forest land and want to make improvements to your land, we can help, but don’t wait for the next program cut-off date to be announced,” said Barbara Miller, Acting State Conservationist for NRCS in Massachusetts. “Folks should be aware that the entire process can take six to 12 months from initial request to implementation of their project. So, ask us for assistance as soon as you’ve identified a natural resource concern on your land.”

Passage of the 2014 Farm Bill resulted in changes to EQIP, some of which include folding the former Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP) into EQIP; increasing the six-year payment limitation to $450,000; and adding Veterans to the list of farmers eligible for increased payment rates and advanced payments.

NRCS is a federal agency that works hand-in-hand with the people of Massachusetts to improve and protect their soil, water and other natural resources. The agency has offices in USDA Service Centers in Greenfield, Hadley, Holden, Hyannis, Pittsfield, Westford, and West Wareham, which work with local conservation districts and other partners to serve farmers and landowners throughout the commonwealth.