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News Release

NRCS Announces Second EQIP Signup for 2020 Funding, Apply by June 26, 2020

Providing Conservation Practices to Protect Natural Resources

Madison, Wis. – May 22, 2020 – Farmers and forest landowners will want to plan ahead and sign up early for the second round of USDA conservation funding. Angela Biggs, USDA−Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) State Conservationist in Wisconsin, announced farmers and forest landowners interested in the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) need to apply by June 26, 2020, for funding in 2020. Applications are being taken at all USDA Service Centers in Wisconsin.

EQIP is the primary program available to farmers and landowners for farm and woodland conservation work, offering payments for over 110 basic conservation practices. Last year, Wisconsin received over $38 million in funds for EQIP practices.

“The new Farm Bill allows NRCS to support conservation that ensures cost-effective financial assistance for improved soil health, water and air quality, and other natural resources benefits. Through EQIP, for example, there are new enrollment options through incentive contracts, an advance payment option is available for historically underserved producers, and much more,” said Biggs.

All eligible applications received by June 26, 2020, will be evaluated, prioritized and ranked for funding in 2020. Farmers may contact their local USDA Service Center to get started on producer eligibility and planning. Biggs reminds farmers who are interested in practices that may require permits, such as manure storage or streambank restoration, to begin planning and seeking permits as soon as possible. Applicants with shovel-ready projects (designs completed and permit applications submitted) will receive a higher ranking.

Sign up for several special initiatives focusing on conservation efforts.

Special sign-up opportunities are now open for Source Water Protection, Honey Bee Pollinator, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and the Regional Conservation Partnership Program. All offer technical and financial assistance through EQIP.

Source Water Protection:  Four areas of Wisconsin with high concentrations of public water systems experiencing elevated nitrate levels will be eligible for EQIP practices targeting these concerns. In northwest Wisconsin, the Kinnickinnic River, Duncan Creek, Trout Creek and Lake Wissota watersheds will be included. In central Wisconsin, the effort focuses on the Plover River, Fourmile Creek and Waupaca River watersheds. The Turtle Creek watershed in Rock and Walworth Counties is also included.

Honey Bee Pollinator: The upper Midwest is the resting ground for over 65 percent of commercially managed honey bees in the country. The NRCS is helping farmers and landowners implement conservation practices that will provide safe and diverse food sources for honey bees. Pasture management, wildlife habitat and appropriate cover crops are used as tools to improve the health of our honey bees, which support more than $15 billion worth of agricultural production.

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative: Through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), NRCS offers financial assistance to agricultural producers for implementing practices that improve water quality in selected watersheds. Eligible watersheds for the second round of funding in Wisconsin include the Door-Kewaunee Rivers, Lower Fox River, Manitowoc-Sheboygan, Milwaukee River, Upper Fox River, Wolf River and Lake Winnebago. Financial assistance is also available in the entire Lake Superior and Lake Michigan basins of Wisconsin to address invasive species.

Regional Conservation Partnership Program:  The Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) promotes coordination between NRCS and its partners to deliver conservation assistance to producers and landowners. NRCS provides assistance to producers through partnership agreements and through program contracts or easement agreements. Current active projects for water quality improvement are located within the Oconomowoc River watershed, the Baraboo River watershed and portions of the Pecatonica River watershed in Lafayette County. Projects to improve fish and wildlife habitat include stream and riparian habitat in the Driftless Area and efforts in the Little Plover River watershed to conserve water and improve cover.    

Landowners interested in applying for EQIP funding should contact their local NRCS office at the USDA Service Center for their county. For more information, visit www.wi.nrcs.usda.gov.

 

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