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News Release

USDA Offers Expanded Conservation Program Opportunity to Support Climate-Smart Agriculture

Contact: Susan Kubo
Phone: (808) 600-2921

HONOLULU, HI, Feb 14, 2022 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in the Pacific Islands Area (PIA) is announcing a new and expanded opportunity for climate-smart agriculture. PIA announces the availability of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program- Conservation Incentive Contracts (EQIP-CIC) option. This improvement to NRCS’ working lands conservation programs, combined with continued program opportunities in the Pacific Islands Area, are part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s broader effort to support climate-smart agriculture.

“Climate change is happening, and America’s agricultural communities are on the frontlines,” Acting NRCS PIA Acting Director, Chad Cherefko said. “We have to continue to support and expand the adoption of conservation approaches to support producers in their work to address the climate crisis and build more resilient operations. We are continuously working to improve our programs to ensure we’re giving Pacific Island Area farmers and ranchers the best tools to conserve natural resources.”

EQIP Conservation Incentive Contracts

Sign-ups for the EQIP Conservation Initiative Contracts option submitted by March 14, 2022 will be evaluated for funding in fiscal year 2022.   

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. EQIP-CIC offers annual incentive payments and is designed to be a stepping-stone between EQIP and the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), to help producers improve their level of conservation and earn benefits of longer-term conservation enhancements.

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, however producers and landowners should apply by state-specific signup dates to be considered for each year’s funding. That includes March 14, 2022 for Conservation Incentive Contracts. To apply, producers, should contact their local USDA Service Center.

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, producers, 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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