Indiana NRCS Announces General EQIP and Special Initiative Application Deadline
Indiana’s agricultural producers who want to improve natural resources and address concerns on their land are encouraged to sign up for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) through the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Jerry Raynor, NRCS State Conservationist, announced that March 27, 2020 will be the EQIP application deadline in Indiana.
“While we take EQIP applications throughout the year, applications received after March 27th will be considered in future announced application rounds. I encourage producers with resource concerns on their land to submit an application by the deadline,” Raynor explains.
EQIP is a voluntary conservation program available for agricultural producers. 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.
Many applicants are interested in using funds to address soil erosion and water quality issues on their land; however, funds are also available for pasture and grazing land, confined livestock operations, organic producers, drainage water management, invasive plant control, and wildlife habitat improvement.
Also included in this sign up are several state and national initiatives. While these initiatives use EQIP funding, landowners that apply for funding in one of the initiatives will not compete against the general EQIP funding pool.
“Indiana’s farmers have already made great strides in helping to improve their resource concerns and with these targeted dollars they will be able to do even more, making a greater impact on the health of our streams and rivers,” said Raynor.
The state and national initiatives include the following:
Historically Underserved Farmers: This fund category is for applicants defined as socially disadvantaged, veteran, limited resource or beginning farmer. To see if you are eligible for one of these categories, please visit nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/in/about/outreach/slbfr/ or talk to your local district conservationist.
National Organic Initiative: NRCS provides assistance to help producers implement conservation measures in keeping with organic production. Producers who are certified organic, transitioning to organic or exempt from organic certification are eligible for this initiative.
National On-Farm Energy Initiative: NRCS provides assistance to quantify how energy can be used more efficiently to reduce input costs, increase productivity and reduce air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions. This initiative only offers assistance for 128 Conservation Activity Plans-Ag Energy Management Plans (AgEMPs) and certain energy conservation practices.
Working Lands for Wildlife Initiative – Monarch Butterfly: The Monarch Butterfly Habitat Development Project is a multi-state effort focused on increasing monarch habitat on private lands through plantings of milkweed and nectaring forbs as well as managing pesticide use in proximity to monarch habitat.
Working Lands for Wildlife Initiative – Bobwhite Quail: The goal of this initiative is to convert tall fescue and other non-native forages to native grasses and forbs and develop prescribed grazing plans to address the habitat needs of bobwhite quail and associated grassland/shrub land species. This category is available statewide on land which overlaps one of the Indiana DNR C.O.R.R.I.D.O.R.S. priority areas.
Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI): NRCS and partners work with producers and landowners to implement voluntary conservation practices that improve water quality, restore wetlands, enhance wildlife habitat and sustain agricultural profitability in the Great Lakes.
Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative (MRBI): NRCS and partners work with producers and landowners to implement voluntary conservation practices that improve water quality, restore wetlands, enhance wildlife habitat and sustain agricultural profitability in the Mississippi River basin.
Middle Wabash Deer Watershed (Carroll, Cass, Howard, Miami and Tippecanoe)
Resource Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) projects: RCPP promotes coordination between NRCS and its partners to deliver conservation assistance to producers and landowners. NRCS provides assistance to producers through partnership agreements and through the following program contracts or easement agreements.
Tri-State Western Lake Erie Basin Phosphorus Reduction Initiative (Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Noble, Steuben and Wells Counties)
Southern Indiana Young Forest Initiative (43 counties in southern Indiana)
Big Pine Watershed Partnership (Benton, White, Warren, and Tippecanoe Counties)
Indiana Watershed Initiative: The University of Notre Dame (Kosciusko, Newton, Jasper and Benton Counties)
Improving Working Lands for Monarch Butterflies Partnership (statewide)
Soil Health on Reclaimed Mine Land (Vigo, Clay, Sullivan, Greene, Knox, Daviess, Gibson, Pike, Dubois, Warrick and Spencer)
Grasslands and Gamebirds (five focal regions located strategically throughout Indiana)
Western Lake Erie Basin Initiative (WLEB): NRCS and partners work with producers and landowners to implement voluntary conservation practices that improve water quality, restore wetlands, enhance wildlife habitat and sustain agricultural profitability in the Western Lake Erie basin.
Producers interested in EQIP should submit a signed application to the local NRCS field office. Applications submitted by the March 27th deadline will be evaluated for the funding period submitted. Participants in EQIP must meet eligibility requirements. NRCS staff will work with producers to determine eligibility and complete necessary worksheets and rankings in order for the applicant to compete for funding.
For more information about EQIP and other technical and financial assistance available through Indiana NRCS conservation programs, visit http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/in/programs/financial/eqip/or contact your county’s District Conservationist, Deborah Knepp at 574-936-2024 Ext. 4.