urged to apply early
State Conservationist Richard Sims of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is encouraging Idaho’s farmers and ranchers to apply for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) during the early sign-up period ending October 19. The voluntary conservation program provides financial and technical assistance to landowners willing to implement practices to improve natural resources on privately owned agricultural land.
“It’s possible that Idaho will receive EQIP funds within the next couple of months and I want to ensure that these funds are obligated to our producers in a timely manner,” said Sims. “To do so effectively, our employees will need to be out in the field evaluating applications—all before the snow falls and makes it difficult to access the more remote sites. It is a win-win situation for producers. The earlier they apply, the sooner they know if they’ll have a spring contract so that they can plan accordingly.”
NRCS will continue to accept EQIP applications through November 23; however, all applications received before October 19 will be eligible for the earliest consideration of funding.
Sims also emphasizes the importance of a conservation plan when applying for EQIP. NRCS employees are available to help landowners develop a conservation plan for their operation. The plan identifies the resource concerns of an operation along with the best practices available to help address them.
EQIP is a comprehensive program that provides cost-share for improvements in soil, water, wildlife habitat and other resources on farms and ranches. It can help in implementing water conservation, integrated pest management, nutrient management, air quality improvements, rangeland management, manure management and more. Assistance can be in the form of structures and conservation "hardware," such as irrigation or manure management facilities as well as incentive payments for proper management to achieve environmental benefits.
Applications are ranked based on scores reflecting their environmental benefit to national, statewide and locally identified resource priorities. All applications for fiscal year 2008 funding must be received by your local USDA NRCS office no later than November 23, 2007.
Visit www.id.nrcs.usda.gov or your local USDA Service Center for more information on NRCS programs and services.