USDA-NRCS sets application periods for conservation programs
Barbara Phillips, Public Affairs Specialist
State Conservationist Carrie Mosley has initiated application periods for Agricultural Management Assistance (AMA), the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and EQIP Conservation Activity Plans (CAP). The current application period will close on October 18, 2013, so that selected projects can be planned and funds allocated. “We have opened this sign-up now so that our planners can work with eligible applicants to prepare for conservation projects and have them ready to go as soon as Farm Bill funding is available,” said Mosley. These voluntary conservation programs are offered by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service in New Jersey to support conservation on agricultural and forested land. NRCS professionals work with producers to develop a conservation plan for their operation, design conservation practices, and provide guidance to help implement the plan.
The Agricultural Management Assistance (AMA) is a voluntary conservation program that targets beginning and limited resource farmers, small farms, and producers who have had limited participation in other USDA financial assistance programs. AMA provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers to address issues such as water management, water quality, and erosion control by incorporating conservation into their farming operations.
The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a voluntary conservation program for persons who are engaged in livestock, forestry or agricultural production, including organic production. EQIP offers financial and technical assistance to implement conservation practices on eligible agricultural land, and provides payments for implementing conservation practices that have a positive environmental impact, while protecting long term agricultural production and sustainability.
EQIP Conservation Activity Plans (CAPS) combine specific land use objectives associated with a renewable resource with a comprehensive management plan that addresses all of the natural resource concerns within an agriculture or forestry operation. The purpose of a CAP is to outline a combination of vegetative, structural, and/or management practices necessary to protect and sustain natural resources on agricultural and forest landscapes, and to serve as a blueprint for future implementation of conservation practices. New Jersey NRCS offers twelve Conservation Activity Plan options, including: Agricultural Energy Management Plan (AgEMP) - Headquarters, Agricultural Energy Management Plan (AgEMP) - Landscape, Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan (CNMP), Conservation Plan Supporting Organic Transition (CPSOT), Forest Management Plan (FMP), Integrated Pest Management Plan (IPMP), Irrigation Water Management Plan (IWMP), and Nutrient Management Plans (NMP).
Visit your local USDA-NRCS office to apply for these and all programs offered by NRCS. USDA prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex (including gender identity and expression), marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, political beliefs, genetic information, reprisal, or because all or part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.)