The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a voluntary conservation program of the USDA- Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) that promotes agricultural production and environmental quality as compatible goals. This program is available to farmers and offers financial and technical assistance to install or implement structural and management practices on eligible agricultural land.
The following are Des Moines County resource concerns to be addressed by EQIP:
Soil Erosion- Sheet & Rill Erosion- removal of a uniform layer of soil from the land surface caused by rainfall and surface water runoff. Ephemeral Gully Erosion- reoccurring gullies on cropland caused by concentrated flow of runoff water. Classic Gully Erosion- Eroded channels that are too deep to be crossed with farm equipment. They may enlarge by head cutting or lateral widening. Streambank, Shoreline, Water Conveyance Channels- Accelerated loss of streambank soils restricts land and water use and management.
Degraded Plant Condition- Undesirable Plant Productivity and Health- Plants do not produce yields, quality or soil cover to meet client objectives. Inadequate Structure and Composition - Plants do not have adequate nutritive value or palatability for the intended use. Excessive Plant Pest Pressure- The site contains noxious or invasive plants.
Livestock production Limitations- Inadequate Feed and Forage –Total feed and forage is insufficient to meet the nutritional and production needs of the kinds and classes of livestock. Inadequate water- The quantity, quality and distribution of drinking water is insufficient to meet the production goals for the kinds and classes of livestock.
Water Quality Degradation- Excessive Nutrients and Organics in Ground and Surface Water- Degrading ground and surface water quality due to excessive animal waste and other nutrients. Excessive Suspended Sediment and Turbidity- Pollution from mineral and organic particle degrades surface and ground water.
Animals- Fish & Wildlife-Inadequate Habitat Cover/Shelter- Quantity and quality of food & shelter are unavailable to meet the requirements of the species of concern.
Soil Quality Degradation- Organic Matter Depletion- Soil organic matter had or will diminish to a level that degrades soil quality.
Air Quality Impacts- Emissions of Greenhouse Gas- Increased CO2 concentrations are adversely affecting the ecosystem processes.
Inefficient Energy Use- Farming Practices and Field Operations
These resource concerns address the following National EQIP priorities: water quality, air quality, soil erosion, and wildlife habitat:
Reductions of non-point source pollution, such as nutrients, sediment, pesticides, or excess salinity in impaired watersheds consistent with TMDL’s where available, as well as the reduction of groundwater contamination and the conservation of ground and surface water resources.
Reduction of emissions, such as particulate matter, nitrogen oxides (NOx), volatile organic compounds, and ozone precursors and depleters that contribute to air quality impairment violations of National Ambient Air Quality Standards.
Reduction in soil erosion and sedimentation from unacceptable high levels on agricultural land.
Promotion of the conservation of at-risk species.
Conservation of ground and surface water resources.
The goal of the locally led group was to recommend a ranking system that rewarded and gave priority to those producers who address the above resource concerns. If a farmer’s land is located in the impaired watershed of Lake Geode, Big Hollow and Flint Creek, they will receive additional points. The ranking will be completed for the specific practices to be applied through the EQIP contract. EQIP signup is continuous at the NRCS field office. Application ranking will be completed periodically as funding allocations become available. Signup cutoff deadlines will be announced by the NRCS State Office, and will be publicized by all levels of NRCS. The NRCS may establish local, minimum ranking cutoff levels for funding selections.
Initial EQIP funds will be allocated based on the following percentage unless requests are not received to fully obligate funds within that resource concern.
The local work group also recommended a list of conservation practices that are the most cost-effective, longest duration and address these priority resource concerns in the district.
For more information on EQIP and other NRCS administrated programs contact the Des Moines County USDA Service Center located at 3625 Flint Ridge Drive, Burlington, IA 52601. Phone (319)753-6221. Fax (855) 233-1294.