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News Release

USDA announces new ranking date for conservation programs in Rhode Island

Contact:
Diane Petit, Public Affairs Officer
401-822-8843, cell: 413-835-1276


Sheep grazing in a field

August 16th is next ranking cut-off date

WARWICK, RI, July 16, 2019 –- Do you own or manage farmland or forest land in Rhode Island? 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) and Agricultural Management Assistance (AMA) program. Applications may be submitted at any time during the year, however the next ranking batching date will be August 16, 2019.

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 August 16th will be considered in the first funding cycle. For more information on available programs, the application process, and natural resource priorities, visit the Rhode Island NRCS website at www.ri.nrcs.usda.gov.

“If you operate a farm or manage forest land and want to improve your land, we can help,” said Pooh Vongkhamdy, State Conservationist for NRCS in Rhode Island. “A planner will discuss with you your vision for your land and 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 including:

  • Erosion control
  • Irrigation systems
  • Fencing grazing systems
  • Farm and forestry conservation plans
  • Forest stand improvement
  • Grazing plans
  • Pasture and hayland planting
  • Pollinator habitat
  • Protection of heavy use areas for livestock
  • Riparian buffers
  • Seasonal high tunnels
  • Waste storage facilities
  • Restoration and management of declining habitat (oyster reef restoration)
  • Wildlife habitat management and development
  • Soil health management plans

The AMA program provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers to voluntarily address issues such as water management, water quality, and erosion control by incorporating conservation into their farming operations.

Rhode Island producers may construct or improve water management structures or irrigation structures; plant trees for windbreaks or to improve water quality; and mitigate risk through production diversification or resource conservation practices, including soil erosion control, integrated pest management, or transition to organic farming.

AMA is available in 16 states where Federal Crop Insurance Program participation is historically low: Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

For more information, contact your local conservation district or the USDA-NRCS Rhode Island office:

Eastern RI Conservation District
Serving Newport and Bristol counties
401-934-0842

Northern RI Conservation District
Serving Providence County
401-934-0840

Southern RI Conservation District
Serving Kent and Washington counties
401-500-0422

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
60 Quaker Lane, Suite 46
Warwick, RI 02886
www.ri.nrcs.usda.gov
NRCSInfo@ri.usda.gov
401-822-8848

Some of the EQIP funding will be provided to farmers and forest landowners via the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), which encourages partner organizations to join in efforts with producers 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.

Also, through several landscape initiatives, EQIP financial assistance is targeted to address priority natural resource concerns on the most vulnerable lands and high priority watersheds.

For example, the Working Lands for Wildlife initiative, farmers and forest landowners in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Rhode Island are helping the New England cottontail rebound by voluntarily conserving habitat on their land. Working Lands for Wildlife is a partnership between NRCS and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

And, the National Water Quality Initiative is a partnership among NRCS, state water quality agencies and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to identify and address impaired water bodies through voluntary conservation. NRCS provides targeted funding for financial and technical assistance in small watersheds – including Rhode Island’s Sakonnet River, Tomaquag Brook-Pawcatuck River and upper east passage of Narragansett Bay – that are most in need and where farmers can use conservation practices to make a difference.

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