POMEROY — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting applications to help producers improve water and air quality, build healthier soil, improve grazing and forest lands, conserve energy, enhance organic operations and achieve other environmental benefits.
NRCS has directed over $13 million in financial assistance for fiscal 2013 to help Ohio producers implement conservation practices through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), the agency’s largest Farm Bill conservation program. To participate in EQIP, an applicant must be an individual, entity or joint operation that meets EQIP eligibility criteria.
Those who are interested in applying for assistance or want more information about the program can contact Carrie Crislip, District Conservationist at 740-992-6646, who is available to give assistance in making application. The deadline for the next sign-up period in Ohio is Jan. 18. A second sign-up deadline will occur on Feb. 15 if funding is available, she noted.
“The Environmental Quality Incentives Program offers farmers and forestland managers a variety of options to conserve natural resources while boosting production on their lands,” said State Conservationist Terry Cosby in announcing the program. “This $13 million conservation investment helps improve environmental health and the economy of Ohio’s rural communities.”
He pointed out that EQIP provides financial assistance for a variety of conservation activities, such as nutrient management, reduced tillage, field buffers and rotational grazing systems.
Additionally, NRCS offers special initiatives through EQIP, including an On- Farm Energy Initiative which helps producers conserve energy on their operations; the Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative which helps producers install high tunnels designed to extend the growing season into the cold months, increasing productivity by keeping plants at a steady temperature and conserving water and energy; and the Organic Initiative which helps producers to install conservation practices on certified organic operations or those working toward organic certification.