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News Release

Look for Farm Conservation Needs Now, Visit NRCS

Sign Up Now, Avoid the Late Rush

Madison, Wis–– Many farmers don’t realize that most of the USDA conservation programs are open for sign-up at any time, continuously, not just for a few weeks each year.  Most of the programs offered by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) are open year-round for applications, according to Pat Leavenworth, NRCS State Conservationist for Wisconsin. 

"Fall is a great time to visit with NRCS,” says Leavenworth, “because as the crops come off the field, we can see the land and better assess what’s needed.”   NRCS can also help you figure out which program best meets your needs, whether it’s the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) or the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) or other options.  Both of those programs are open all year for farmers to sign up.  Applications are held until an annual ranking date is announced, then all applications that NRCS has received to date are ranked for funding that year.

Frequently, the ranking dates are in the winter, and farmers rush to sign up when the ranking date is announced.  However, this is Wisconsin and the snow cover makes it difficult for the NRCS staff to get a good look at the land and include all needed practices.  Furthermore, funding may not be available in the spring to add anything that was missed, but that can be avoided by signing up earlier.

Conservation for Soil Health and Drought Resiliency

Conservation practices help build soil health and drought resiliency, as seen this summer in the Wisconsin and many other Midwestern states.   Cover crops, crop residue management, and other erosion reduction practices will help reduce compaction, build soil structure, increase organic matter content, and improve moisture holding capacity.

In 2012, Wisconsin farmers contracted for over $21 million in conservation projects through EQIP.  An additional $400,000 was dedicated to cover crops during a special late sign up for drought-afflicted counties.  

Call now for an appointment to talk about conservation options for your farm.  More information on NRCS programs is available at under Programs.

Program Name


Environmental Quality Incentives Program

Open all year

Conservation Stewardship Program

Open all year

Wetlands Reserve Program

Open all year

Farm and Ranchlands Protection Program

Signup depends on local easement program

Conservation Technical Assistance

Available free at any time

Conservation Reserve Program* (CRP)
*USDA Farm Service Agency program– signups set nationally

Sign up only during specific times

CRP variations (CREP, continuous CRP and SAFE)

Open at any time


For more information, visit , or contact the NRCS office at the USDA Service Center serving your county.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital or family status. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at 202-720-2600 (voice and TDD).  

To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326W, Whitten Building, 14th and Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (202) 720-5964 (voice or TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.