2012 EQIP Applications Due January 20
Des Moines, IA, Dec. 20 — Iowa farmers must apply at local USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) offices by Jan. 20 to be considered for the first round of funding selections for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). EQIP is offered through a continuous signup, but NRCS periodically makes funding selections as program dollars allow. Last year USDA provided Iowa farmers $25 million to treat natural resource concerns through EQIP.
Iowa agricultural producers applying for financial assistance through EQIP-funded special initiatives must apply by Feb. 3. These initiatives include the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watershed Initiative (MRBI), Northern Prairie Migratory Bird Habitat Initiative (NPMBHI) and the Organic, High Tunnel and Energy initiatives.
EQIP offers financial assistance to install conservation practices. Statewide EQIP practices include, but are not limited to: grassed waterways, manure management facilities, terracing, pest management, ag drainage wellhead protection and pasture management. Other practices include tree planting, windbreaks, stripcropping, conservation tillage, practices supporting organic crop production and wildlife habitat management.
Conservation plans must be developed for the entire area that will be included in the EQIP contract. EQIP was originally established under the 1996 Farm Bill and reauthorized in the 2008 Farm Bill. It provides technical and financial assistance to landowners to voluntarily address soil, water and related natural resource concerns on private agricultural lands. Congress included new provisions in the 2008 Farm Bill, setting aside 5 percent of EQIP financial assistance dollars for beginning farmers and another 5 percent to assist socially disadvantaged farmers.
For more information or to apply for an EQIP contract, contact your local USDA Service Center or go online to www.ia.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/stateeqip.html.
Paul Goldsmith, EQIP Program Coordinator