NRCS Announces Cut-Off Date for Conservation Funds
EAST LANSING, Jan. 13, 2014 – The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service announced that Feb. 21 will be the cut-off date for applications for the first round of Environmental Quality Incentives Program funding in 2014. The Environmental Quality Incentives Program provides financial assistance to farmers and non-industrial forestland owners for protecting and conserving natural resources.
“Only farmers who submit applications by Feb. 21 will be eligible for the first selection of applications for fiscal year 2014 Environmental Quality Incentives Program funding. I encourage farmers seeking 2014 funds for making conservation improvements, such as adopting conservation tillage, planting cover crops or installing windbreaks, to contact their local USDA Service Center,” 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 2013, Michigan farmers received over $18 million in conservation financial assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program. NRCS in Michigan has an initial allocation of $14.6 million available in financial assistance. Examples of conservation activities eligible for financial assistance include nutrient management, pest management, prescribed grazing, seasonal high tunnels, cover crops, and forest stand management. Conservation financial assistance for organic producers and producers transitioning to organic production is available.
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 and online at www.mi.nrcs.usda.gov.