Holly L. Martien
NRCS Accepting Applications from Ag and Forestry Producers for EQIP Funding through Special Initiatives
Current Ranking Period Ends March 15, Next Ranking Period Ends April 19
ALEXANDRIA, February 13, 2013 – The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a voluntary conservation program that helps agricultural producers improve water and air quality, build healthier soil, improve grazing and forest lands, conserve energy, enhance organic operations, and achieve other environmental benefits. Applications for EQIP funding are accepted from agricultural and forestry producers at local USDA Service Centers throughout the year in a continuous sign-up process; however, NRCS periodically announces cutoff dates when applications are ranked for funding.
In order to address targeted resource concerns in Louisiana, the Natural Resources Conservation Service has allocated EQIP funding for several special initiatives and established two application cutoff dates for these funds. The current EQIP application ranking period for the special initiative funding ends March 15, 2013. Any applications received after March 15, 2013, will be considered in the next special initiative application ranking period which ends April 19, 2013.
Special initiatives offered through EQIP include:
On-Farm Energy Initiative to help producers conserve energy on their operations;
Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative to help producers install high tunnels designed to extend the growing season into the cold months, increase productivity, keep plants at a steady temperature and conserve water and energy;
Organic Initiative to help producers install conservation practices on certified organic operations or those working toward organic certification;
Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative to help producers in targeted watersheds improve water quality in the Mississippi River Basin;
Gulf of Mexico Initiative to help producers in targeted watersheds improve water quality in the Gulf of Mexico;
Longleaf Pine Initiative to help forest land producers improve the sustainability and profitability of longleaf pine ecosystems;
Master Farmer Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative to help participants of the Louisiana Master Farmer Program implement practices within their existing Resource Management System Conservation Plan and address identified resource concerns;
Statewide Wildlife EQIP Initiative to focus funding for wildlife conservation; and
Beginning Farmer/Rancher and Socially Disadvantaged Farmer/Rancher Initiative to focus EQIP funding for historically underserved farmers and ranchers.
“Producers who are looking for ways to improve the resources of their farm and boost production should consider the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and this opportunity to participate in a special initiative targeting specific resource concerns,” said State Conservationist Kevin Norton. “Financial assistance is available for conservation practices such as irrigation water management, reduced tillage, field buffers, rotational grazing systems, and much more.”
For more information about EQIP or other technical or financial assistance programs offered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, please contact your nearest USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. To locate your nearest USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service office, visit http://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov or look in the telephone directory under “United States Government.”
USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) helps America’s farmers and ranchers conserve the Nation’s soil, water, air, and other natural resources. All programs are voluntary and offer science-based solutions that benefit both the landowner and the environment.
Follow NRCS in Louisiana on Twitter http://twitter.com/nrcs_louisiana and YouTube http://www.youtube.com/user/LouisianaNRCS.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), 800-877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866-367-8642 (Relay voice users).