NRCS offers conservation through incentive program
By Janet Lagler
Natural Resources Conservation Service
Introduction to EQIP
The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a voluntary program that provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers through contracts up to a maximum term of 10 years in length.
These contracts provide financial assistance to help plan and implement conservation practices that address natural resource concerns and for opportunities to improve soil, water, plant, animal, air and related resources on agricultural land and non-industrial private forestland.
In addition, a purpose of EQIP is to help producers meet federal, state, tribal and local environmental regulations. Landowners are urged not to miss out on these conservation funds.
“EQIP is one of our most versatile programs. It offers cost share and technical assistance to apply conservation measures on cropland, rangeland, as well as for animal feeding operations and establishing or enhancing wildlife habitat. State Conservationist, Craig Derickson said, “There are special initiatives to help conserve water in the Ogallala Aquifer, help producers conserve energy on the farm or ranch, and provide assistance to convert to organic agriculture. There are many, many opportunities available, and NRCS staff can help landowners and operators sort out their EQIP options.”
How EQIP Works
NRCS works with the producer to develop a plan of operations that:
• Identifies the appropriate conservation practice or measures needed to address identified natural resource concerns
• Implements conservation practices and activities according to an EQIP plan of operations developed in conjunction with the producer that identifies the appropriate conservation practice or measures needed to address identified natural resource concerns.
The practices are subject to NRCS technical standards adapted for local conditions.
• Cross fences for improved grazing
• Livestock pipelines
• Livestock wells
• Watery tanks
• Irrigation water management
• Irrigation moisture probes
• Nozzle packages
• Dryland conversion
• Grassed waterways
• Windbreaks, new and renovated
• No-till incentives
• Cover crop incentives
• Brush management
• Seasonal high tunnels
• Grass seeding
Who Can Apply
Applications for EQIP are accepted on a continuous basis, however, NRCS establishes application “cut-off” or submission deadline dates for evaluation and ranking of eligible applications.
Those interested in applying conservation measures are encouraged to sign up for program dollars by Dec. 21. Producers are encouraged to sign up soon since all funding for EQIP in Nebraska could potentially be obligated by March 1, 2013.
To obtain an EQIP application visit with or contact Claudia Stevenson at the NRCS field office-352-4776 or access the website www.ne.nrcs.usda.gov to find more information.