Land that is managed as forest land is an integral part of other agricultural production systems such as cropland and livestock production. Recognizing its importance, the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) provides financial and technical assistance to help managers and owners of private, non-industrial forestland* solve resource concerns associated with the following priorities:
Reduction of non-point source pollution, such as nutrients and sediment.
Conservation of ground and surface water resources;
Reduction of emissions, such as particulate matter, nitrogen oxides (NOX), volatile organic compounds, and ozone precursors and depleters
Reduction in soil erosion and sedimentation from unacceptable high levels.
Promotion of at-risk species habitat conservation.
* Rural land that has existing tree cover or is suitable for growing trees; and is owned by any nonindustrial private individual or private legal entity that has definitive decision-making authority over the land.
(Conservation practices installed only for production purposes are not eligible for payment under EQIP.)
In order to make the biggest impact with limited funds, during fiscal year 2009 priority will be given to applications coming from four targeted areas. These areas were selected in coordination with DCNR, Forest Bureau, and some are similar to the Conservation Landscape Initiative areas. The targeted areas are:
Lower Susquehanna Riverlands
Producers in or outside of the area can also apply for the wildlife component of EQIP or for the Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP) as long as the funds are not used to pay for the same practice on the same land.
In addition to all the other program eligibility requirements, producers with forest land must have a forest management plan or forest stewardship plan. PA NRCS will assign a low priority to applicants without these plans.