NRCS announces EQIP signup deadline

Natural Resources Conservation Service
Ag News

The U.S. Department of Agriculture officials announce July 9  as the batching date for applications for the popular Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) administered by the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.

“Now is the time to contact the NRCS to begin developing conservation solutions on your farm or ranch," Jennifer Wurtz, EQIP Program Coordinator with the NRCS in Huron, South Dakota said. "Local and regional technical specialists with the NRCS can help you develop a plan to address resource concerns. Those with good conservation plans will be in a better position to apply for financial assistance since they have a solid conservation goals for their operation."

Applications are batched annually for funding consideration. This year, July 9 is the date by which an operator or landowner must sign an application at their local NRCS office for Fiscal Year 2021 funding consideration, says Wurtz.

This particular funding opportunity is for the National Water Quality Initiative, which will help producers improve soil and grazing land health while improving water quality in the priority watersheds for the Firesteel Creek. The priority watersheds include portions of Jerauld, Sanborn, Aurora, and Davison Counties. This includes Storia, Lower West Branch Firesteel Creek and West Branch Firesteel Creek-Firesteel Creek.

“This is a unique opportunity to make a difference in the water quality of these watersheds by incorporating soil health practices on your operation,” says Wurtz. “The EQIP Program provides financial and technical assistance to help farmers and ranchers voluntary implement conservation practices to improve natural resources on working agricultural lands."

Payment is provided for a variety of practices to address natural resource concerns such as water quality, grazing land health, productivity, soil erosion, soil quality and wildlife habitat development.

Applications for all NRCS conservation programs are accepted continuously; however, the application batching date, or call for ranking, is annual, Wurtz says. “The batching deadline for this popular conservation program comes around quickly and the ranking process can be competitive.”

Operators or landowners should apply early and visit NRCS in their local U.S. Department of Agriculture Service Center.

For information about technical assistance and conservation programs, visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/GetStarted. For more information about the EQIP or to apply, please contact your local NRCS office or visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/Programs/FinancialAssistance/EQIP.