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Press Release

USDA Conservation Funds Available to Michigan Farmers and Forest Owners

Mixed cover crops on field in Bay County.

Applications for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program for producers in Michigan must be submitted by Nov. 17, 2023, for the current round of funding. Additional selection dates may be announced if remaining funds are available.

EAST LANSING — Oct. 2, 2023 – Michigan agricultural producers and private forestland owners interested in receiving conservation financial assistance through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program should submit applications by Nov. 17, 2023.

The Environmental Quality Incentives Program provides financial assistance to help farmers and landowners make conservation improvements on their land that benefit natural resources including, soil health, water quality, and wildlife habitat. Financial assistance is available for a wide variety of conservation activities including cover crops, conservation tillage, forest management plans, forest stand improvements, prescribed grazing plans, and tree planting.

Financial assistance is available to all types of agricultural producers including commodity crop growers, specialty crop growers, livestock producers, small scale and urban growers, and organic producers. Forestland owners can utilize Environmental Quality Incentives Program assistance to improve timber production or wildlife habitat.

Environmental Quality Incentives Program funding in Michigan includes targeted funds to address conservation priorities and initiatives. Some of these include, funding through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative for the Western Lake Erie Basin in southeast Michigan and the Saginaw Bay Watershed, seasonal high tunnel funding for Wayne and Genesee counties, and funding for organic producers and producers transitioning to organic. Funding is also available specifically for producers in the process of becoming certified through the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP). Producers who need to install practices such as fueling facilities or agrichemical handing facilities to complete MAEAP certification are eligible for funds through this initiative.

Additional funding from the Inflation Reduction Act is available through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program for climate-smart conservation practices such as cover crops, conservation tillage, nutrient management, and prescribed grazing. Producers can find out what initiatives are available by contacting their local NRCS field office. General Environmental Quality Incentives Program funding is available to all producers statewide.

Historically Underserved Producer Benefits

Special provisions are available for historically underserved producers. 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 Environmental Quality Incentives Program payment rates (up to 90 percent of average cost). NRCS sets aside Environmental Quality Incentives Program funds for historically underserved producers.

Producers can contact their local USDA Service Center for more information about the program including how to apply. Applications may be submitted at any time at local USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service offices or online through Applications  must be received by Nov. 17, to be eligible for the current round of funding.