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News Release

USDA announces 2021 application ranking dates for conservation programs

Contact:
Diane Petit, Public Affairs Officer
mobile: 413-835-1276


Sheep grazing on a Rhode Island farm.

April 9th is the signup deadline for three USDA Conservation Programs: EQIP, RCPP & AMA

WARWICK, RI, March 9, 2021 –- Do you own or manage farmland or forest land in Rhode Island? Could you use some technical and financial help in managing those lands 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) – including State & National Initiatives –  the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), and/or the Agricultural Management Assistance (AMA) program.

Applications for these programs may be submitted at any time during the year, however, interested producers should submit applications to their local NRCS office by April 9, 2021 to ensure their applications for these three programs are considered in the 2021 ranking period.  All eligible applications submitted prior to close of business on April 9th will be considered for FY2021 funding. 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 landowners to address natural resource concerns through an array of conservation practices. Assistance is available to support private landowners 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

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.

The AMA program provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers who voluntarily wish to 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.

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.

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

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

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