NRCS Accepting Applications for Conservation Assistance
*This press release originally announced the application cut-off date as Jan. 17, the actual date is Jan. 18.
EAST LANSING, Dec. 4, 2012 – The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service announced that on Jan. 18 it will begin selecting applications for conservation financial assistance through its Environmental Quality Incentives Program.
“Only farmers who submit applications by Jan. 17 will be eligible for the first selection of applications for fiscal year 2013 funding. I encourage farmers seeking 2013 funds for making conservation improvements, such as adopting conservation tillage, planting cover crops or installing windbreaks, to contact their local USDA Service Center as soon as possible to start the applications process,” said NRCS State Conservationist Garry Lee.
The Environmental Quality Incentives Program provides financial assistance to agricultural producers and non-industrial forestland owners for adopting a wide variety of conservation activities. Conservation activities receiving financial assistance must be part of an agricultural or forest operation’s conservation plan. Producers should work with their local NRCS or conservation district staff to develop a conservation plan before applying for the program. Successful applicants enter into a contract with NRCS to implement conservation activities and are reimbursed for a portion of the cost.
During fiscal year 2012, Michigan farmers received over $14 million in conservation financial assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program. Funding allocations for fiscal year 2013 are not finalized. Examples of conservation activities eligible for financial assistance include nutrient management, pest management, prescribed grazing, cover crops, and forest stand management.
A portion of Michigan’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program 2013 funding is allocated for organic producers and producers transitioning to organic production. A portion of program funds are also dedicated for seasonal high tunnels that allow producers to extend the growing season for local food crops.
NRCS provides higher levels of financial assistance for beginning farmers and historically underserved producers. More information about conservation financial assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program is available at local NRCS offices or online at www.mi.usda.gov.