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News Release

USDA OFFERS EXPANDED CONSERVATION PROGRAM OPPORTUNITIES TO SUPPORT CLIMATE-SMART AGRICULTURE IN 2022

Contact:
Chris Groskreutz
706-546-2069


Release No.: 003.22

Printable Version

Signup for Additional Opportunities in Georgia Concludes February 11

ATHENS, GEORGIA, Jan. 12, 2022 – State Conservationist, Terrance O. Rudolph, of U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced today, two additional signups through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) to support climate-smart agriculture and forestry through voluntary conservation practices, as well as Conservation Incentives Contracts.

These additional opportunities will help agricultural producers plan and implement conservation practices that sequester carbon, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and mitigate the impacts of climate change on working lands. Signup for these initiatives in Georgia concludes with an application batching date of February 11, 2022.

“Agricultural producers have shown that they know their land best and are great stewards who play a critical role in climate change mitigation,” said Rudolph. “We offer these unique EQIP signups to deliver more support for implementing critical climate-smart conservation practices to our producers.”

EQIP and Targeted Climate Change Mitigation

NRCS, which administers EQIP, selected Georgia as one of ten states last fiscal year based on demonstrated demand for additional support for climate-smart practices. In fiscal year 2022, it has been expanded through a comprehensive effort across all states and programs to support farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners.

While NRCS offers a broad array of conservation practices, the agency identifies a sub-set as critical for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, sequestering carbon and ultimately mitigating the impacts of climate change. These climate-smart conservation practices will be prioritized in this targeted EQIP signup period and support systems for:

  • Building soil health.
  • Improving nitrogen management.
  • Enhancing grazing and pasture management.
  • Improving agroforestry, forestry and upland wildlife habitat.

EQIP Conservation Incentive Contracts

Conservation Incentive Contracts address priority resource concerns, including sequestering carbon and improving soil health in high-priority areas. Through these contracts, NRCS works with producers to strengthen the quality and condition of natural resources on their operations using management practices, such as irrigation water management, drainage water management, feed management and residue and tillage management that target resource concerns, including degraded soil and water quality, available water and soil erosion.

Conservation Incentive Contracts offer producers annual incentive payments to implement management practices as well as conservation evaluation and monitoring activities to help manage, maintain and improve priority natural resource concerns within state high-priority areas and build on existing conservation efforts. Download our “Conservation Incentive Contracts” fact sheet for a list of practices.

Conservation Incentive Contracts last five years. The 2018 Farm Bill created the new Conservation Incentive Contract option, and it was piloted in 2021 in four states.

How to Apply

NRCS accepts applications for conservation programs year-round, but to be included in this funding batch, producers should contact their local USDA Service Center and apply by February 11, 2022.

More Information

Through conservation programs, NRCS provides technical and financial assistance to help producers and landowners make conservation improvements on their land that benefit natural resources, build resiliency and contribute to the nation’s broader effort to combat the impacts of climate change. More broadly, these efforts build on others across USDA to encourage use of conservation practices. For example, USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) recently provided $59.5 million in premium support for producers who planted cover crops on 12.2 million acres through the new Pandemic Cover Crop Program. Last week, RMA announced a new option for insurance coverage, the Post Application Coverage Endorsement, for producers who “split apply” fertilizer on corn.

Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is engaged in a whole-of-government effort to combat the climate crisis and conserve and protect our nation’s lands, biodiversity and natural resources including our soil, air, and water. Through conservation practices and partnerships, USDA aims to enhance economic growth and create new streams of income for farmers, ranchers, and private foresters. Successfully meeting these challenges will require USDA and our agencies to pursue a coordinated approach alongside USDA stakeholders, including state, local and Tribal governments.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In 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.

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