USDA Announces Cut-Off Date for Conservation Funds
EAST LANSING, Jan. 5, 2015 – The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service in Michigan announced that Feb. 20 is the second cut-off date for applications for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program in fiscal year 2015.
The Environmental Quality Incentives Program provides financial assistance to farmers and non-industrial private forestland owners for protecting and conserving natural resources.
The Environmental Quality Incentives Program provides financial assistance to agricultural producers and non-industrial private forestland owners for adopting a wide variety of conservation activities. Separate funding pools are available for organic producers and for farmers who need to implement one or two conservation practices to complete the verification process of the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program.
Conservation activities receiving financial assistance must be part of an agricultural or forest operation’s conservation plan. Producers should work with their local NRCS or conservation district staff to develop a conservation plan before applying for the program. Successful applicants enter into a contract with NRCS to implement conservation activities and are reimbursed for a portion of the cost.
During fiscal year 2014, Michigan farmers received over $18 million in conservation financial assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program. Examples of conservation activities eligible for financial assistance include nutrient management, pest management, prescribed grazing, seasonal high tunnels, cover crops, and forest stand improvement. Conservation financial assistance for organic producers and producers transitioning to organic production is available.
NRCS provides higher levels of financial assistance for beginning farmers and historically underserved producers. More information about conservation financial assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program is available at local NRCS offices and online at www.mi.nrcs.usda.gov