Salina, Kansas, September 28, 2017—The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced November 17, 2017, as the first cut-off date to apply for fiscal year 2018 funds through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).
NRCS accepts applications for EQIP on a continuous basis, but applications must be filed for these programs by November 17 to be eligible for the next round of funding. Producers interested in EQIP should submit a signed application to the local NRCS field office.
“EQIP is the cornerstone program of NRCS, providing financial and technical assistance to help farmers and ranchers put proven and practical conservation practices on the ground,” said State Conservationist Eric B. Banks. “For 2017, Kansas NRCS obligated over 35 million dollars in financial assistance contracts to Kansas producers.”
The EQIP program provides financial and technical assistance to help farmers and ranchers implement conservation practices to improve natural resources on working agricultural lands. Payment is provided for a variety of practices to address resource concerns such as water quality, grazing land health and productivity, soil erosion and soil quality, and wildlife habitat development.
Applications can be received in the following general EQIP ranking categories:
- Forest Land Health: To assist producers to implement forestry practices to address plant productivity, energy, soil erosion, and water quality resource concerns.
- Grazing Lands Health: To assist producers to implement grazing lands practices to address plant productivity, livestock water, and invasive plant pest resource concerns.
- Livestock Waste: To assist producers to implement conservation practices to address resource concerns associated with animal feeding operations.
- Sedimentation Above Federal Reservoirs: To assist producers with land located in watersheds above federal reservoirs to implement conservation practices to address water quality resource concerns.
- Soil Health: To assist producers to implement conservation practices that address soil organic matter, compaction, and moisture resource concerns.
- Tribal: To provide assistance to Tribal producers to implement conservation practices to address resource concerns on Tribal lands.
- Water Quality: To assist producers to implement conservation practices to address water quality and soil erosion resource concerns.
- Water Quantity: To assist producers to implement water saving conservation practices that address water quantity resource concerns on irrigated land.
- Wildlife Habitat: To assist producers to implement conservation practices that address wildlife habitat resource concerns for aquatic and terrestrial wildlife species.
The November 17 application deadline also applies to the following special EQIP initiatives:
- Anderson Creek Wildfire Initiative: To assist producers in remediating resource concerns resulting from the effects of a wildfire that occurred in Barber and Comanche Counties in March 2016.
- High Tunnel System Initiative: To help producers implement high tunnels that extend growing seasons for high value crops in an environmentally safe manner.
- Lesser Prairie-Chicken Initiative: To assist producers to implement conservation practices specifically targeted to improve the lesser prairie-chicken habitat while promoting the overall health of grazing lands.
- Monarch Butterfly Habitat Development Project: To assist landowners to establish milkweed and other plants critical to the iconic Monarch Butterfly.
- Ogallala Aquifer Initiative: To assist producers to reduce aquifer water use, improve water quality, and enhance the economic viability of croplands and rangelands.
- On-Farm Energy Initiative: Producers work with an NRCS-approved Technical Service Provider to develop Agricultural Energy Management Plans or farm energy audits that assess energy consumption on an agricultural operation.
- Organic Initiative: To assist producers with installation of conservation practices on agricultural operations related to organic production. Producers currently certified as organic, transitioning to organic, or producers who are exempt based on the National Organic Program will have access to a broad set of conservation practices to assist in treating their resource concerns.
- National Water Quality Initiative: NRCS will work in priority watersheds to help farmers, ranchers and forest landowners improve water quality and aquatic habitats in impaired streams. NRCS will help producers implement conservation and management practices through a systems approach to control and trap nutrient and manure runoff.
“EQIP also helps address the unique circumstances of socially disadvantaged, veteran, limited resource, and beginning farmers and ranchers, who have natural resource concerns that need to be addressed on their land,” said Banks. “Qualifying Kansas producers compete separately and receive higher payment rates.”
Visit the Kansas NRCS Web site at www.ks.nrcs.usda.gov/programs or your local U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Service Center for more information.