NRCS Conservation Programs Deadline Fast Approaching
DAVIS, Calif., Oct. 19, 2011 – For those farmers, ranchers, forestry landowners and Tribes who are interested in applying for Fiscal Year 2012 Farm Bill conservation program-financial assistance, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in California has set Friday, Nov. 18, 2011, as the application cutoff for ranking consideration.
This deadline includes all California Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) and existing Agricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP) project priorities. The deadline for NRCS’s National Initiatives (EQIP Organic, High Tunnels, Energy and Air Quality) will be provided at a later date.
Landowners with a conservation plan for their operation receive priority for financial assistance. NRCS staff is available to help landowners create conservation plans on a first-come, first-served basis. Applications can be submitted throughout the year, but those received after November 18 will be held until the next funding cycle.
In Fiscal Year 2011, California NRCS obligated $74 million in EQIP funds for 1,692 contracts benefitting nearly one-million acres statewide. However, the number of applications received exceeds available funds by approximately three to one. Farmers and ranchers are encouraged to apply now to ensure consideration for this funding cycle.
EQIP is a voluntary conservation program that supports agricultural productivity and environmental quality as compatible goals. Through EQIP, agricultural producers receive technical and financial assistance to implement projects that address resource concerns such as water conservation and water and air quality.
WHIP is a voluntary program for private landowners who want to develop or improve wildlife habitat on private farms and ranch lands. It provides both technical and financial assistance to help establish and improve fish and wildlife habitat.
AWEP is a voluntary conservation initiative that provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers to implement agricultural water enhancement activities on agricultural land to conserve surface and ground water and improve water quality. As part of EQIP, AWEP operates through program contracts with producers to plan and implement conservation practices in project areas established through partnership agreements.
For additional information, landowners are encouraged to contact their local NRCS Service Center. Service center locations and more information on the programs can be found at www.ca.nrcs.usda.gov.
Since the 1996 Farm Bill, NRCS California has invested more than $1 billion working hand-in-hand with California’s landowners, through conservation planning and assistance, to benefit the soil, water, air, plants, and animals that result in productive lands and healthy ecosystems. ■
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