EAST LANSING, Feb. 21, 2014 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture extended the cut-off date for Michigan farmers to submit applications for the first 2014 round of Environmental Quality Incentives Program funding to March 21. The program provides financial assistance to agricultural producers and non-industrial forestland owners for adopting a wide range of conservation activities.
The March 21 cut-off date gives farmers an extra 30 days to submit applications to their local USDA Service Center. Conservation activities receiving financial assistance must be part of an agricultural or forest operation’s conservation plan. Producers should work with their local USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service 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.