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News Release

USDA announces sign-up for conservation program in Deerfield River watershed

Diane Petit, Public Affairs Officer

Regional Conservation Partnership Program

May 17th is next ranking cut-off date

AMHERST, Mass. Apr. 18, 2019 – Do you own or manage farmland or forest land in the Deerfield River watershed in western Massachusetts? Could you use some technical and financial help in managing it more effectively? The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) encourages you to sign up for conservation assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Applications may be submitted at any time during the year, however the next ranking batching date will be May 17, 2019.

Through a partnership with the Connecticut Council on Soil and Water Conservation and the Connecticut River Conservancy in Massachusetts, NRCS is offering help to reduce the impact of flood waters and increase resiliency through proper land management on agricultural lands that are located within floodplain areas. This resiliency program will focus on the upper Long Island Sound watershed, with emphasis on the Deerfield River watershed, which encountered severe flood damage in 2011 because of Hurricane Irene, and the Connecticut River main stem.

EQIP funding will be provided to farmers and forest landowners through the via the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), which encourages partner organizations to join in efforts to increase the restoration and sustainable use of soil, water, wildlife and related natural resources on regional or watershed scales. Through the RCPP program, NRCS and its partners help producers install and maintain conservation activities in selected project areas. Partners leverage RCPP funding in project areas and report on the benefits achieved.

You may apply for NRCS conservation programs at any time; complete applications are ranked for funding in batches periodically throughout the year. All applications determined eligible and high priority by close of business on the ranking date will be considered in the current funding cycle.

The following application ranking dates, pending available funds, are scheduled:

  • May 17, 2019
  • June 21, 2019
  • July 19, 2019

Ranking dates and the application process are subject to change. Contact your local field office for the latest information. For more information on available programs, the application process, and natural resource priorities, visit the Massachusetts NRCS website at

“If you operate a farm or manage forest land and want to improve your land, we can help,” said Christine Clarke, State Conservationist for NRCS in Massachusetts. “You can discuss your vision for your land with one of our conservation planners, who will explain the conservation planning process and how to apply for financial assistance.”

EQIP is a voluntary program that provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers and forest land owners to address natural resource concerns through an array of conservation practices. Assistance is available to support private land owners and managers in addressing farm, field, forest, wildlife, water, and/or plant management issues.

For more information, contact your local USDA-NRCS office:

  • Greenfield field office – 413-772-0384, ext 3, serving Franklin County
  • Hadley field office – 413-585-1000, ext 3, serving Hampden and Hampshire counties
  • Pittsfield field office – 413-443-1776, ext 3, serving Berkshire County

NRCS is a federal agency that works hand-in-hand with conservation districts and the people of Massachusetts to improve and protect soil, water and other natural resources.