Indiana’s agricultural producers who want to improve natural resources and address concerns on their land are encouraged to sign up for the Environmental Quality Incentives Pro-gram (EQIP) through the USDA-Natural Re-sources Conservation Service (NRCS). Jane Hardisty, NRCS State Conservationist, announced that December 15, 2017 will be the EQIP application deadline in Indiana.
“While we take EQIP applications throughout the year, applications received after December 15th will be considered in future announced application rounds. I encourage producers with resource concerns on their land to submit an application by the deadline,” Hardisty explains.
EQIP is a voluntary conservation program available for agricultural producers. Through EQIP, NRCS provides financial and technical assistance to install conservation practices that reduce soil erosion and sedimentation, improve soil health, improve water and air quality, and create wildlife habitat.
Many applicants are interested in using funds to ad-dress soil erosion and water quality issues on their land; however, funds are also available for pasture and grazing land, confined live-stock operations, organic producers, drainage water management, invasive plant control, and wildlife habitat improvement. Also included in this sign up are several state and national initiatives including:
- National Organic Initiative: NRCS pro-vides financial payments and technical assistance to help producers implement conservation measures in keeping with organic production. Beginning, limited resource, and socially disadvantaged producers may obtain additional assistance.
- National On-Farm Energy Initiative: NRCS provides agricultural producers with technical and financial assistance that quantifies how energy can be used more efficiently to reduce input costs, increase productivity and reduce air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions. This initiative only offers assistance for 128 Conservation Activity Plans-Ag Energy Management Plans (AgEMPs) and certain energy conservation practices.
- Monarch Butterfly Habitat Development Initiative (EQIP): The Monarch Butterfly Habitat Development Project is a multi-state effort focused on increasing monarch habitat on private lands through plantings of milkweed and nectaring forms as well as managing pesticide use in proximity to monarch habitat.
Working Lands for Wildlife Initiative (EQIP): The goal of this initiative is to convert tall fescue and other non-native forages to native grasses and forbs and develop pre-scribed grazing plans to address the habitat needs of bobwhite quail and associated grass-land/shrub land species. This category is avail-able statewide on land which overlaps one of the Indiana DNR C.O.R.R.I.D.O.R.S. priority areas.
In addition, EQIP offers financial assistance for payment of practices and conservation activities involving the development of plans appropriate for the eligible land. The conservation practice associated with plan development is known as a Conservation Activity Plan (CAP). EQIP applications for CAP are not required to be submitted by December 15th; they may be submitted, accepted and considered for funding at any time. Funding is based on dollars available and meeting eligibility requirements.
Producers interested in EQIP should submit a signed application through our local NRCS District Conservationist, Jerod Chew, or email@example.com . Applications submitted by the December 15th deadline will be evaluated for the funding period submitted. Participants in EQIP must meet eligibility requirements. NRCS staff will work with producers to determine eligibility and complete necessary work-sheets and rankings in order for the applicant to compete for funding.