Salina, Kansas, September 19, 2016-The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced November 18, 2016, as the first cut-off date to apply for fiscal year 2017 funds through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).
“EQIP provides Kansas agricultural producers a wide range of opportunities to improve the quality of natural resources on their land,” State Conservationist Eric B. Banks said.
EQIP is a voluntary conservation program available for agricultural producers. Through EQIP, NRCS will provide financial and technical assistance to install conservation practices that reduce soil erosion and sedimentation, improve water and air quality, and create wildlife habitat.
The November 18 application deadline also applies to the following initiatives:
- High Tunnel System Initiative: NRCS will help producers implement high tunnels that extend growing seasons for high value crops in an environmentally safe manner.
- Lesser Prairie-Chicken Initiative: NRCS will 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: NRCS will assist landowners to establish milkweed and other plants critical to the iconic Monarch Butterfly.
- Ogallala Aquifer Initiative: NRCS will 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: NRCS will 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: Application cutoff date will be established at a later time.
NRCS accepts applications for all of its programs on a continuous basis, but applications must be filed for these programs by November 18 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 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.