EQIP priority deadline Friday for farmers
DES MOINES — Iowa farmers interested in conservation planning and financial assistance to help reduce soil erosion, improve water quality and soil health, create wildlife habitat, or even cut energy costs on their land, have until Friday to receive priority funding for fiscal year 2017 through USDA’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program.
Through EQIP, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service provides financial and technical assistance to install conservation practices such as nutrient management, terraces, grassed waterways, cover crops, manure management facilities, and pasture management.
EQIP is offered through a continuous signup, but NRCS periodically makes application selections as funding allows.
There are several EQIP initiatives included in the signup, where NRCS sets aside financial assistance for specific practices or individuals, or to treat local resource concerns. Examples include practices that help increase monarch butterfly habitat, assist in the organic transition process, and improve on-farm energy and water quality in targeted areas.
EQIP funding is also used to support projects such as the Driftless Area Landscape Conservation Initiative, National Water Quality Initiative, and Mississippi River Healthy Watersheds Initiative.
Paul Goldsmith, EQIP coordinator for Iowa NRCS, says the agency also uses 5 percent of funding for practices that positively impact wildlife.
Iowa NRCS also sets aside 10 percent of its EQIP financial assistance program for the historically underserved, which include beginning farmers, socially disadvantaged farmers, limited resource producers, and veterans.
Visit the local NRCS office or go to www.ia.nrcs.usda.gov for information about conservation planning and financial assistance.