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Conservation Management Systems – Improving Soil Quality

MARK SCARPITTI • STATE CONSERVATION AGRONOMIST • SEPTEMBER 21, 2009

In a previous article I wrote about the benefits of implementing a system of conservation practices that improve soil quality, increase yields and improve water quality. In this article I would like to tell you about the opportunity to implement these systems through the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP).

In 2009, Ohio NRCS offered the opportunity to sign up for a conservation management system. The EQIP program provides payments for practice implementation that improve soil quality, reduce erosion and improve water quality. These practices vary depending on the level of management you feel is right for your operation. At the highest level, no-tillage, strip tillage or ridge tillage can be combined with a controlled traffic system that will dramatically reduce compaction. Conservation crop rotation, cover crops, buffer strips and nutrient management are other practice components in this system.

Payments to implement this system of practices can range from $92.00 to $140 per acre. Payments can be received for three years in a row. Contracts are three to five years in length.

Producers can apply for EQIP at any time at their local Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) office. The applications are processed once per year, usually in the spring.

For more information, contact your local NRCS office or me at 740-653-1500 ext 40.