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USDA Offers Energy Cost Offset For Completion Of EQIP Practices

Help for Producers Hard-hit by Escalating Energy Costs

AUBURN, Ala., January 24, 2006

Alabama State Conservationist Gary Kobylski has received word that nationwide $40 million has been set aside for one-time payment adjustments that will allow eligible Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) participants to complete conservation practices that have been delayed because of recent increases in energy prices.

"This one-time adjustment is intended to assist Alabama producers who have put on hold installation of conservation practices because of increased energy prices," Kobylski said. "The intent is to assist with implementing the practices that protect our natural resources, and in some cases, lessen the impact of high energy prices by reducing producers' need for energy and energy-related inputs."

The one-time adjustment will apply to participants who signed EQIP contracts in 2004 or earlier. The increase in payment will apply to specific practices that have been most affected by spikes in the cost of concrete, steel, plastic pipe, and other construction materials. The increase will only be paid for practices that are completed between March 1 and June 30, 2006, and will focus on specific practices that have escalated in price by 20 percent or more because of rising energy costs.

The Energy Initiative applies to regular EQIP projects, Ground and Surface Water Conservation EQIP projects, and Klamath Basin EQIP projects.

Administered by USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service, EQIP is a voluntary conservation program for farmers and ranchers that promotes natural resource conservation and environmental quality. EQIP offers financial and technical assistance to participants who implement structural or management practices on agricultural land.

For more information on this one-time adjustment, contact your local Natural Resources Conservation Service office.

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