The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced that farmers interested in funding to install new farmland conservation practices must apply by Jan. 18 to be considered for 2013 funding.
Lisa Neuenfeldt, district conservationist in Waupaca, said that Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is the primary program available to farmers and landowners for conservation work, offering flat-rate payments for over 80 types of conservation practices.
“EQIP can help all types of farmers – livestock and dairy, grazing, or cash crop, including specialty crops and organic,” said Neuenfeldt. “EQIP also offers additional assistance for beginning, socially disadvantaged and limited resource farmers.”
All eligible applications received by Jan. 18 will be evaluated and ranked for funding.
Farmers can sign up at the NRCS office in USDA Service Centers statewide. Waupaca County producers can sign up at the USDA Service Center at 1337 Royalton St. in Waupaca.
Neuenfeldt is expecting increased interest this year, in part because of the extreme weather last summer which showed the importance of conservation practices for good soil health and drought resilience.
The key conservation practices for improving soil health are crop rotations, cover crops, no-till or mulch tillage, and erosion-reducing practices such as buffers and grassed waterways.
Special opportunities are also now open for On-Farm Energy Audits/practices, Organic conservation practices and for Seasonal High Tunnels (hoop houses). All three initiatives offer technical and financial assistance.
For more information, go to www.wi.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/eqip.html, visit the Waupaca County NRCS office at 1337 Royalton St., Waupaca, or call 715-258-8380.