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News Release

Get Permits in Advance for NRCS Conservation Programs

Renae Anderson

Photo links    – Manure Storage, erosion control  grassed waterway      streambank restoration

Plan Ahead for High Priority in Funding

Madison, Wis…… The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is urging farmers to plan ahead and have their permits in hand if they want to be considered high priority for conservation practice funding in 2014.  The NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is the primary source of financial assistance (cost-sharing) for conservation practices on working lands, including those needing county, state or federal permits.  The application deadline for 2014 funding will be Nov. 15, 2013.

NRCS State Conservationist for Wisconsin, Jimmy Bramblett, says this change has become a necessity. 

“It’s actually a sign of huge success,” says Bramblett.  Between 2009 and 2013, Wisconsin NRCS has nearly doubled the funds it receives to help farmers pay for conservation work, to $31 million this year.  However, staff numbers have remained the same.  The resulting increase in NRCS program workload leaves limited time for staff to help landowners work through the permit processes.

 “With more customers, more contracts and much more conservation, we need to focus our staff on existing contracts and those landowners who have their permits in hand.”

A number of conservation practices require county, state or federal permits.  Obtaining the proper permit(s) is the landowner’s responsibility, and may sometimes be a lengthy process.  NRCS will continue to provide technical assistance to landowners to help them fulfill their permitting responsibilities, but can only do so as time and staff resources will allow.  Permits are commonly required for manure storage structures, erosion control structures, streambank and wetland restorations, and some other practices.                  

Bramblett says that applications for practices requiring permits will receive high priority ranking if the applicant has already obtained all necessary permits. Applications will receive medium priority if the applicant has completed all paperwork for the permit(s).  And, applications will receive low priority if the applicant has not begun the permit process.  Applications receiving a low priority will only be ranked for funding if funds remain once higher priority and medium priority applications are obligated.

Options and Guidance for Landowners

NRCS recommends farmers come in early to NRCS and get started planning potential projects. NRCS can help provide information on which permits are needed for particular practices.  Then, farmers will be able to contact the permitting agency earlier.  Technical assistance is available from NRCS, county, state agencies, some non-profit groups, and private consultants to do the design work needed in order to get some state or local permits.

“NRCS is committed to helping applicants through the permit process, as time allows,” says Bramblett.  “We just ask farmers to plan ahead, because funding priority goes to those with permits in hand.”

For more information, visit , or contact the NRCS office at the USDA Service Center serving your county.




Permit(s) That May Be Needed

Who to Contact

Stream Practices

(streambank stabilization, stream crossing)

DNR – Ch. 30 (includes coordination with Corps of Engineers) Threatened and Endangered Species

County -Shoreland Zoning

DNR local office


County Land Conservation Dept./ Planning and Zoning

Manure Storage and Handling Practices

(storage facilities, waste transfer, composting facilities)

DNR –for operations >1,000 animal units

County -  Manure Storage Ordinances in nearly all counties

DNR local office


County Land Conservation Dept.

Erosion Control Practices (grade stabilization Structures, grassed waterway)

DNR – depending on location of practice to nearby waterbodies

County - Stormwater Ordinance- depending on area of ground disturbance

DNR local office


County Land Conservation Dept.

Wetland Practices (restorations, enhancements)

DNR – Ch. 30 (includes coordination with Corps of Engineers) Threatened and Endangered Species

County -Shoreland Zoning Ordinance

DNR local office


County Land Conservation Dept./Planning and Zoning