NRCS Sets Oct. 4 Conservation Program Signup Deadline
Des Moines, IA, Aug. 30, 2013 — In anticipation of a new Farm Bill, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is encouraging Iowa farmers and private landowners to visit their local USDA office by Oct. 4 to be considered for the first round of conservation program funding selections.
Before submitting an application, farmers are strongly encouraged to discuss the resource concerns for their farm and develop a conservation plan, or update their current plan if needed.
“Farmers can help maximize the benefits of conservation financial assistance programs if they have a solid understanding of their conservation needs,” said Jay T. Mar, Iowa NRCS state conservationist. “We don’t want farmers to miss any opportunities that could protect their soil, water and promote wildlife habitat.”
USDA conservation programs are offered through a continuous signup, but NRCS periodically batches and ranks applications as funding allows. “We want to be prepared and ready to go with applications if Farm Bill funding is announced,” said Larry Beeler, Iowa NRCS assistant state conservationist for programs.
Two of USDA’s most popular conservation programs are part of this signup: the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP). According to Beeler, this signup includes all associated EQIP and landscape initiatives such as the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative (MRBI), Organic Initiative and the National Water Quality Initiative.
This summer Iowa celebrated 165,000 acres of restored wetlands through WRP and similar USDA programs. During the last 20 years, Iowa NRCS invested more than $300 million to bring back Iowa wetlands through easement payments and restoration costs.
Statewide EQIP practices include, but are not limited to, nutrient management, terraces, grassed waterways, cover crops, manure management facilities, and pasture management. Each program initiative includes its own separate practice list. These lists are available at your local NRCS office or online at www.ia.nrcs.usda.gov.
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Larry Beeler, Iowa NRCS Asst. State Conservationist for Programs