Conservation funding applications available | NevadaAppeal.com

Conservation funding applications available

NCRS

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is offering an additional application batching period for agricultural producers to apply for funding to implement conservation practices on their private land and public land allotments.

Producers are encouraged to apply for several Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) fund pools by Feb. 21 to be considered in the Fiscal Year 2014 USDA Conservation Program second batching period.

EQIP is a voluntary, financial assistance program that helps fund conservation practices to protect cropland, rangeland, water resources, soil resources and wildlife habitats

"EQIP is adaptable to meet various needs of our landowners and address their natural resource challenges," said Bruce Petersen, Nevada NRCS State Conservationist. "We are pleased to be able to provide an additional opportunity for agricultural producers to sign up for these types of projects that are so critical to the conservation effort here in Nevada."

Funding remains available for organic production or transitioning to organic production practices. Funding also is available for the Energy Initiative, including the development of Energy Conservation Activity Plans and practices. Other statewide fund pools available include: Tribal Grazing Management, Fire Rehabilitation, Wildlife Habitat Conservation, Seasonal High Tunnels and Sage Grouse Initiative fund pools.

In FY 2013, NRCS awarded more than 100 EQIP contracts in Nevada totaling more than $7.2 million.

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USDA Financial Assistance Programs like EQIP give producers the opportunity to construct or improve water management or irrigation structures, plant trees for windbreaks or to improve water quality. They also can mitigate risk through production diversification, or by implementing innovative management strategies including soil erosion control, integrated pest management or transitioning to organic farming.

"Applications for EQIP are accepted year-round on a continuous basis with periodic closing dates being announced so that applications can be ranked and funded," said Gary Roeder, Assistant State Conservationist for Programs.

Applicants must meet USDA program eligibility requirements for land eligibility and person eligibility, including Adjusted Gross Income limitations for individuals and entities seeking to participate. Applications received before 4 p.m. on Feb. 21 will be considered in the next FY 2014 ranking period.

Farm Bill programs have strict payment limits, and the amount of financial assistance producers may receive varies by program and will depend on future allocations received under the Farm Bill authority. Limited resource producers, beginning farmers and ranchers, or socially disadvantaged agricultural producers may be eligible for up to 15 percent higher payments, not to exceed 90 percent of the estimated cost to install the practice.

To learn more, contact your local NRCS office or go online to: http://www.nv.nrcs.usda.gov

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