Producers in Tennessee who are interested in implementing conservation practices to improve natural resources on their farmland have until Friday, Jan. 18, 2019 to submit their application for financial assistance through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).
“We accept applications for this program on a continuous basis, however, only the applications received by January 18th will be considered for funding this fiscal year,” said Sheldon Hightower, NRCS Tennessee State Conservationist. “EQIP places a priority on water quality, water conservation, and promotes soil health practices by offering financial and technical assistance to address these resource concerns on eligible agricultural land.”
EQIP will be offering funding for High Tunnel and On-Farm Energy initiatives for this signup in addition to traditional funding opportunities. EQIP is an incentives-based program that provides technical and financial assistance for conservation systems such as animal waste management facilities, irrigation system efficiency improvements, fencing, and water supply development for improved grazing management, riparian protection, wildlife habitat enhancement, and cover crops for soil resource protection.
Applications can be taken at all Tennessee NRCS county offices and USDA Service Centers. Applications must be received in your local Service Center by 4 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 18.
NRCS continually strives to put conservation planning at the forefront of its programs and initiatives. Conservation plans provide landowners with a comprehensive inventory and assessment of their resources and an appropriate start to improving the quality of soil, water, air, plants, and wildlife on their land.
Conservation planning services can also be obtained through a Technical Service Provider (TSP) who will develop a Conservation Activity Plan (CAP) to identify conservation practices needed to address a specific natural resource need. Typically, these plans are specific to certain kinds of land use, such as transitioning to organic operations, grazing land, or forest land. CAPs can also address a specific resource need, such as a plan for management of nutrients. Although not required, producers who first develop a CAP for their land use, may use this information in applying for future implementation contracts.