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Indiana NRCS Accepting Applications for Additional EQIP, CSP, ACEP Funding and NWQI-Lake Wawasee



INDIANAPOLIS, March 1, 2023 – Funding is now available from USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service in Indiana to help farmers and private forestland owners implement conservation practices on their ground. Additional funding is available for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) through the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which was passed by Congress in August 2022. Funding is also available to producers in Noble and Kosciusko counties through the National Water Quality Incentives Program (NWQI) to help address water quality concerns in the Lake Wawasee watershed.


Applications for the current funding cycles for IRA-EQIP, IRA-CSP and NWQI- Lake Wawasee are being accepted through April 28. While applications are accepted year-round, interested producers should submit applications to their local NRCS office by April 28 to be considered for the current funding period. Applications received after April 28 will automatically be considered during the next funding cycle.


Application are also being accepted for additional ACEP Agricultural Land Easements (ACEP-ALE) or Wetland Reserve Easements (ACEP-WRE) projects through IRA. Applications for the current ACEP funding cycle are due to your local NRCS office by March 17, 2023. This year, NRCS will prioritize ACEP-ALE for grasslands in areas of highest risk for conversion to non-grassland uses to prevent the release of soil carbon stores. Meanwhile, NRCS will prioritize ACEP-WRE for eligible lands that contain soils high in organic carbon.


Inflation Reduction Act


The Inflation Reduction Act provided an additional $19.5 billion nationwide over five years for climate smart agriculture through several of the conservation programs that NRCS implements. NRCS is making $850 million available nationwide in fiscal year 2023 for its oversubscribed conservation programs including EQIP and CSP. The additional funding provided through IRA available for farmers and private forestland owners to implement a suite of core practices that NRCS has identified as playing the biggest role in mitigating the harmful effects of climate change. These practices include nutrient management plan, cover crop, reduced tillage, forest stand improvements, prescribed grazing plans and more. A full list of eligible practices is available at your local USDA service center.


EQIP is a voluntary conservation program available for agricultural producers and private, non-industrial forestland owners. Through EQIP, NRCS provides financial and technical assistance to install conservation practices that reduce soil erosion and sedimentation, improve soil health, improve water and air quality and create wildlife habitat.


CSP is a financial assistance program for producers who are already established conservation stewards and who want to add more conservation benefits on their land, such as improved water and soil quality, climate-smart agricultural practices and enhanced wildlife habitat.

ACEP-ALE protects the long-term viability of the nation's food supply by preventing conversion of productive working lands to non-agricultural uses. ACEP-WRE helps restore, protect and enhance wetlands on eligible land in order to provide wildlife habitat, reduce damage from flooding, recharge groundwater and/or provide outdoor recreational and educational opportunities.


“The additional funding from IRA is a once in a generation opportunity to have a lasting impact on the landscapes throughout Indiana while also reducing the harmful impacts of climate change,” said Dan Hovland, acting state conservation for Indiana NRCS. “Climate change is real, and we all must work together to mitigate its harmful effects. This multi-year investment in conservation throughout the nation will enable us to help people help the land and simultaneously help producers address resource concerns on their land while benefiting the world as a whole.”


To apply for EQIP, CSP and ACEP funding through IRA, contact your local district conservationist by visiting farmers.gov/service-locator.


National Water Quality Incentives Program


NWQI provides a way to accelerate voluntary, on-farm conservation investments where they can deliver the greatest benefits for clean water. This targeted funding will help eligible farmers adopt conservation practices that will reduce the amount of nutrients flowing from agricultural land into waterways, curb erosion and improve the resiliency of working lands in the face of droughts and floods. Funding for NWQI comes from the Farm Bill’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).


Goals for the Lake Wawasee Watershed include the reduction of excess nutrients and sediment from reaching Lake Wawasee through the implementation of conservation practices on farm and forestland in Noble and Kosciusko counties.


The targeted EQIP funding will help decrease nutrient and sediment runoff from agriculture through practices such as cover crops, nutrient management plans and pasture management.

To apply for funding through NWQI contact your local district conservationist by visiting farmers.gov/service-locator.


Contacts:

Deb Knepp, District Conservationist, 574-936-2024 Ext. 4 (deb.knepp@usda.gov)


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