State Conservationist Jane Hardisty with Indiana’s USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced today an extension of the cutoff for new applications for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) for fiscal year 2016. Though applications are accepted continuously, eligible agricultural producers and forest landowners interested being considered for FY16 funding should submit applications to NRCS by Friday, January 22.
Hardisty explained the extension is an effort to make it possible for more farmers and forest landowners to apply for this important Farm Bill conservation program. “Through their conservation actions, these good stewards are ensuring that their operations are more productive and sustainable over the long run,” she said.
Many applicants have shown interest in EQIP to help them improve soil health and address soil erosion, air and water quality, wildlife habitat, and other resource concerns on cropland, forestland, pastureland, and livestock areas. In addition to conservation practices like cover crops, no-till, manure storage structures, and fencing, EQIP provides funding for the development of plans, such as Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plans, Grazing Plans, Drainage Water Management Plans, and others.
Landscape and special initiatives, where NRCS sets aside financial assistance for specific practices and producers, are included in the extension. Landscape initiatives, which include Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watershed Initiative (MRBI), Great Lakes Basin Initiative (GLRI), and National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI), are targeted to particular watersheds in Indiana based on the priority resource concerns of those areas. There are also several EQIP special initiatives included in the extension, where NRCS sets aside financial assistance for specific practices and producers. Special initiatives include practices that improve on-farm energy, assist in the organic transition process, add wildlife habitat, and target certain practices such as seasonal high tunnels.
Indiana NRCS also sets aside approximately ten percent of the Indiana EQIP financial assistance program for historically underserved participants, which include beginning farmers, socially disadvantage farmers, limited resource producers, and military veteran farmers and ranchers. If you are interested in learning more, definitions are located at https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/people/outreach/slbfr.
For more on technical and financial assistance available through conservation programs, visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/GetStarted or contact your District Conservationist https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/in/contact/local/