NRCS NEWS — The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is offering financial and technical assistance to help agricultural producers apply conservation practices on their private land as well as their public land allotments. Producers are encouraged to apply for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Agricultural Management Assistance (AMA) or Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP) by Nov. 15, 2013 to be considered in the Fiscal Year 2014 USDA Conservation Program funding cycle.
EQIP is a voluntary, financial assistance program that helps fund conservation practices to protect sage-grouse habitat, manage livestock, improve irrigation efficiency and reduce soil loss. In FY 2013, NRCS awarded more than 100 EQIP contracts in Nevada totaling more than $7.2 million.
“EQIP is adaptable to meet various needs of our landowners and address their natural resource challenges,” said Bruce Petersen, Nevada NRCS State Conservationist.
AMA provides financial assistance to producers to install high tunnels and other practices to voluntarily address issues such as water management, water quality and erosion control.
WHIP is a voluntary program for conservation-minded landowners who want to develop and improve wildlife habitat on agricultural land. Several fund pools are available for landowners to apply practices for Sage Grouse and Southwest Willow Flycatcher habitat.
USDA Financial Assistance Programs such as these 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, AMA and WHIP 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 Nov. 15, 2013 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: www.nv.nrcs.usda.gov.