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 West Pottawattamie County resource concerns to be addressed by EQIP:
Air Quality Impacts - Emissions of Particulate Matter (PM) and PM Precursors and Objectionable Odors
Degraded Plant Condition - Undesirable Plant Productivity and Health; Inadequate Structure and Composition; and Excessive Plant Pest Pressure
Fish and Wildlife - Inadequate Habitat Cover/Shelter and Inadequate Habitat - Habitat Continuity (Space)
Inefficient Energy Use - Equipment and Facilities; and Farming/Ranching Practices and Field Operations
Insufficient Water – Inefficient Use of Irrigation Water
Livestock Production Limitation - Inadequate Feed and Forage; and Inadequate Water
Soil Erosion – Sheet and Rill Erosion; Ephemeral Gully Erosion; Classic Gully Erosion; and Streambank, Shoreline, Water Conveyance Channels
Soil Quality Degradation - Organic Matter Depletion and Compaction
Water Quality Degradation - Pesticides in Ground & Surface Water; Nutrients in Surface water; Excess Pathogens and Chemicals from Manure, Bio-solids or Compost Applications in Surface Water; and Excessive Sediment in Surface Water
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 is located in the Mosquito Creek or Keg 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 about EQIP and other NRCS-administrated programs to help plan conservation on your land, contact the West Pottawattamie County USDA Service Center located at 305 McKenzie Ave, Council Bluffs, IA 51503. Phone (712) 328-2489.