Farm Bill Conservation Programs and the Continuing Resolution
First EQIP Application Selection November 15, 2013
Columbus, OH, Oct. 24, 2013 — Expiration of the Farm Bill and the recently passed Continuing Resolution allows the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to offer some Farm Bill conservation programs, but not all, according to Dot Harris, Ohio’s Assistant State Conservationist for Programs. In addition, the Federal Government shutdown suspended NRCS work on existing conservation program contracts, delaying certification of practices installed during that timeframe. Conservation program contract holders that installed practices during the government shutdown should notify their local NRCS field office so NRCS can certify the practices as completed and process payments for those practices.
The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)
The Continuing Resolution provides funding for EQIP. In Ohio, NRCS will review and rank eligible EQIP applications submitted by November 15, for funding. If additional EQIP funding is available, NRCS may offer additional application periods. Eligible agricultural producers can apply for EQIP anytime.
The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP)
The Continuing Resolution provides funding for CSP. Like EQIP, any eligible agricultural producer can apply for CSP anytime. In Ohio, NRCS has not yet announced an application selection date this year.
The Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP)
The Continuing Resolution provides funding for FRPP. In Ohio, NRCS will announce the deadline for cooperating entities to submit applications this year.
Expired Conservation Programs
Several conservation program authorities lapsed when the Farm Bill expired. These include the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP), Grasslands Reserve Program (GRP), Healthy Forest Reserve Program (HFRP), and Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). NRCS cannot accept new applications for these programs at this time. NRCS will continue to assist with agreements from prior years to complete easement closings and restoration activities and to ensure conservation practice implementation.
Visit the Ohio NRCS website at www.oh.nrcs.usda.gov for field office contact information.