Providing Conservation Practices to Protect Natural Resources
NRCS Announces Second EQIP Signup for 2019 Funding, Apply by May 17, 2019
March 7, 2019
Farmers and forest landowners can apply now for a 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 May 17, 2019, for funding in 2019. Applications are being taken at all USDA Service Centers in Wisconsin for select special initiatives. Don’t delay; contact your local USDA Service Center NOW to get started.
EQIP is the primary program available to farmers for farm and woodland conservation work, offering payments for over 110 basic conservation practices. Last year, Wisconsin received over $35 million in funds for EQIP practices.
“By getting applications in early, we have time for staff to visit individual farms to help plan all practices needed and offer advice,” said Biggs.
All eligible applications received by May 17, 2019, will be evaluated for funding in 2019. 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 higher priority.
Sign up by May 17, 2019, for several special initiatives focusing on conservation efforts. Special sign-up opportunities are now open for Beginning Farmer, Farmstead, and Soil Health, as well four landscape-based initiatives. All offer technical and financial assistance through EQIP.
Beginning and Socially Disadvantaged Farmers: The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act continues to address the unique circumstances and concerns of socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, as well as beginning and limited resource farmers and ranchers. Funds have been set aside to assist new and beginning farmers, socially disadvantaged and limited resource farmers to develop and maintain economic viability on their farm operations.
Farmstead: NRCS helps livestock producers improve nutrient handling and clean water separation by implementing practices supporting manure storage, feedlot and barnyard runoff, and clean water diversion. This special opportunity also provides technical and financial assistance for roofs and covers placed over, for example, open cattle lots with runoff issues.
Soil Health Initiative: Soil is a living and life-giving natural resource. By farming using soil health principles and systems that include no-till, cover cropping and diverse rotations, more and more farmers are increasing their soil’s organic matter and improving microbial activity.
Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watershed Initiative (MRBI): Through MRBI, NRCS and its partners will help producers in selected watersheds in the Mississippi River Basin voluntarily implement conservation practices that avoid, control, and trap nutrient runoff; improve wildlife habitat; and maintain agricultural productivity. Designated subwatersheds within the Rush River basin are eligible.
Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI): Through GLRI, NRCS offers financial assistance to agricultural producers for implementing practices that improve water quality in selected watersheds. Eligible watersheds 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.
National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI): The NWQI is designed to help individual agricultural producers take actions to reduce the runoff of sediment, nutrients, and pathogens into waterways where water quality is a critical concern. The goal is to implement conservation practices in focused watersheds in a concentrated area so that agriculture no longer contributes to the impairment of water bodies within these priority watersheds. Eligible watersheds include Bear Lake-Little Wolf River in Waupaca County and North Branch Little River in Oconto County.
Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP): The RCPP promotes coordination between NRCS and its partners to deliver conservation assistance to producers and landowners. NRCS provides assistance to producers through partnership agreements, program contracts, and easements in some project areas. Stream and riparian habitat improvements in the Driftless Area as well as efforts in the Little Plover River watershed to conserve water and improve habitat are also eligible.
Landowners interested in applying for EQIP funding should contact their local NRCS office at the USDA Service Center in their county. For more information, visit http://www.wi.nrcs.usda.gov.