USDA-NRCS In Georgia Announces Sign-up Extension for Inflation Reduction Act Funded Conservation Programs
Producers now have more time to evaluate their climate-smart conservation goals and sign-up for Inflation Reduction Act funded conservation programs.
Release No.: 09.23
ATHENS, GEORGIA, March 27, 2023 – State Conservationist for the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Georgia, Terrance O. Rudolph has extended the recently announced sign-ups for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program’s (EQIP) and Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) that utilize funding from the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).
These sign-ups, that utilize IRA funding to provide direct climate mitigation benefits and expand access to financial and technical assistance for producers to advance conservation on their farm, ranch or forest land have been extended until May 5, 2023, to allow customers more time to discuss their land’s needs and management objectives with their local NRCS conservationists.
“Each of the IRA sign-ups previously announced criteria will remain the same,” said Rudolph. “This extra time should give our customers the time they need to make the right decision for their conservation goals.”
Under this statewide sign-up, the ACT NOW streamlined application and contract approval approach is still in effect. Cover crop applications will be assessed and ranked as they are submitted to the USDA Field Service Center and based on funds availability, application assessments with a ranking score of 67 points or greater will be preapproved immediately for the first batch of funding. Producers are encouraged to apply for the program at their earliest convenience.
Secondly, those applying for energy conservation related practices will be administered through the normal batching and ranking process that occurs after the sign-up conclusion date. The energy-specific practices included in this sign-up are as follows:
- Combustion System Improvement (Practice Code 372)
- Energy Efficient Agricultural Operation (Practice Code 374)
- Energy Efficient Lighting System (Practice Code 670)
- Energy Efficient Building Envelope (Practice Code 672)
For the IRA funded portion of this sign-up, agricultural producers in Baker, Calhoun, Decatur, Dougherty, Early, Grady, Miller, Mitchell, and Seminole counties can apply for Soil Health focused practices and enhancements. Whereas producers and forest landowners in Bleckley, Dodge, Emmanuel, Johnson, Laurens, Montgomery, Toombs, Treutlen, Twiggs, Washington, Wheeler, and Wilkinson counties can apply for Agroforestry, Forestry and Upland Wildlife Habitat practices and enhancements.
Download the Georgia CSP - Inflation Reduction Act Activities List for more information.
How to Apply
NRCS accepts applications for conservation programs year-round, but to be included in this funding batch, interested producers should contact their local USDA Service Center and apply by May 5, 2023. Additional sign-up batches may be announced later, subject to the availability of funding.
On Nov. 21, 2022, USDA published a Federal Register Notice requesting public input on implementation of the funding provided by the IRA and sought comments on program delivery and outreach, especially for underserved producers. That notice closed on Dec. 21, 2022, and NRCS received over 450 comments from the public, which the agency is using to guide actions in fiscal year 2023 and will continue to identify and adopt additional changes based on that public feedback in fiscal year 2024 and in future years.
On Aug. 16, 2022, President Biden signed the IRA into law. It is a historic, once-in-a-generation investment and opportunity for the agricultural communities that USDA serves. The IRA will help producers stay on the farm, prevent producers from becoming ineligible for future assistance and promote climate-smart agriculture by increasing access to conservation assistance.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under the Biden-Harris administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.