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News Release

NRCS in Vermont Announces Conservation Funding Opportunities

Contact:
Amy Overstreet
802-951-6796


Colchester, Vermont, October 22, 2021 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is announcing fiscal year 2022 assistance opportunities for agricultural producers and private landowners for key programs, such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) and Agricultural Management Assistance (AMA) program.

While USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) accepts applications for these programs year-round, producers and landowners should apply by state-specific, ranking dates to be considered for this year’s funding. In Vermont, this includes--

December 31, 2021 for EQIP, AMA, and RCPP 2014

February 11, 2022 for CSP, RCPP 2018, and ACEP

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.  

“NRCS conservation programs are good for Vermont’s natural resources and for your operation’s bottom line,” said Obediah Racicot, the Vermont NRCS Acting State Conservationist. “Whether this is your first time working with NRCS or you want to take conservation to the next level on your land, we encourage you to contact your local NRCS field office to learn more.”

Applying for Assistance

NRCS accepts applications for its conservation programs year-round. State Technical Committees, composed of representatives from conservation and agricultural-related organizations, work with NRCS to set state-specific, ranking dates to evaluate applications for funding. These dates account for producer needs, staff workload and ensure potential participants have ample opportunity to apply. Producers should apply by Vermont-specific ranking dates to be considered for funding in the current cycle. Funding is provided through a competitive process.

Ranking dates for all programs and states are available at nrcs.usda.gov/staterankingdates. Applications received after ranking dates will be automatically deferred to the next funding period.

Producers, landowners and forest managers interested in applying for assistance should contact the NRCS at their local USDA Service Center.

Program Options

EQIP provides financial assistance for producers on more than 170 conservation practices to address a wide variety of resource concerns. CSP helps producers take their conservation activities to the next level through comprehensive conservation and advanced conservation activities. ACEP helps landowners enroll wetlands, grasslands and farmlands into easements for long-term protection. Additionally, through RCPP, producers and landowners can work with partners who are co-investing with NRCS on targeted projects.

Historically Underserved Producer Benefits

Special provisions are also available for historically underserved producers. For example, through EQIP, historically underserved producers are eligible for advance payments to help offset costs related to purchasing materials or contracting services up front. In addition, historically underserved producers can receive higher EQIP payment rates (up to 90% of average cost). NRCS sets aside EQIP, CSP and ACEP funds for historically underserved producers.

NRCS also recently announced the availability of funding for cooperative agreements for partners to provide outreach and support for historically underserved producers. Applications from individuals and entities are due Oct. 25. 

Conservation Practices and Climate

NRCS conservation programs play a critical role in USDA’s commitment to partnering with farmers, ranchers, forest landowners and local communities to deliver climate solutions that strengthen agricultural operations and rural America. States may prioritize a variety of voluntary conservation practices through these NRCS programs, including those that support climate-smart agriculture and forestry (CSAF). 

In fiscal year 2022, EQIP and CSP will provide targeted funding for CSAF practices, and Conservation Incentive Contracts – a new EQIP program – will be available nationwide with an emphasis on CSAF practices. Building on these efforts, NRCS will also prioritize climate investments through ACEP, RCPP and Conservation Innovation Grants. 

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