Millions Available for Special Conservation Priorities in California
USDA-NRCS in California is accepting applications for three popular conservation priorities through February 16, 2024. This funding is in addition to the millions available to California’s agricultural producers through regular Environmental Quality Incentive and the new Inflation Reduction Act.
DAVIS, Calif., November 22, 2023 - The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in California is accepting applications for three popular conservation priorities through February 16, 2024. This funding is in addition to the millions available to California’s agricultural producers through regular Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and the new Inflation Reduction Act.
“NRCS California is committed to assisting agricultural producers address critical resource needs across the State and these three popular initiatives go even further with strategic enhancements on farms and ranches,” said NRCS California State Conservationist Carlos Suarez. “In addition, these three initiatives bring important water quality and organic partners to the table to help us to better meet the needs of producers.”
Interested landowners should contact their local NRCS offices as soon as possible or visit https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/contact/find-a-service-center.
Through EQIP, there are millions available for conservation practices and initiatives, including:
- NRCS and Bureau of Reclamation WaterSmart partner projects to help improve water infrastructure, delivery, and application on farms. Three new projects selected for Fiscal Year 2024 include areas in Fresno and Tulare counties.
- National Water Quality Initiative for targeted conservation actions to improve water quality. Two new projects for Fiscal Year 2024 include the Clearlake Watershed (Lake County) and the Pescadero Watershed (San Mateo County).
- The new Organic Transition Initiative that helps interested farmers transition to organic farming methods.
EQIP provides financial assistance to agricultural producers to address natural resource concerns and deliver environmental benefits. These include improved water and air quality, improved irrigation efficiency, reduced soil erosion and sedimentation, forest restoration, and creating or enhancing wildlife habitat.
Free Technical Assistance
NRCS offers conservation technical assistance at no cost to give producers personalized advice and information, based on the latest science and research, to help them make informed decisions. If a producer chooses to take the next step towards improving their operations, NRCS staff can work with them to develop a free, personalized conservation plan, with conservation practices that can help them reach their agricultural production and conservation goals. Typically, the plan will include land use maps, soils information, inventory of resources, engineering notes, and other supporting information.
Historically Underserved Producer Benefits
Special provisions are also available for historically underserved producers. For EQIP, historically underserved producers are eligible for advance payments to help offset costs related to purchasing materials or contracting services up front. In addition, historically underserved producers can receive higher EQIP payment rates (up to 90% of average cost). NRCS sets aside EQIP and CSP funds for historically underserved producers.
NRCS has provided leadership in a partnership effort to help America's private landowners and managers conserve their soil, water, and other natural resources since 1935. For more information, please visit https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/conservation-basics/conservation-by-state/california.