What is EQIP?
From weather to pests or lack of time to market, each American farmer faces a unique set of challenges. The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) helps agricultural producers confront those challenges – all while conserving natural resources like soil, water and air.
This voluntary conservation programs helps producers make conservation work for them. Together, NRCS and producers invest in solutions that conserve natural resources for the future while also improving agricultural operations.
Through EQIP, NRCS provides agricultural producers with financial resources and one-on-one help to plan and implement improvements, or what NRCS calls conservation practices. Using these practices can lead to cleaner water and air, healthier soil and better wildlife habitat, all while improving agricultural operations. Through EQIP, you can voluntarily implement conservation practices, and NRCS co-invests in these practices with you. (NRCS, 2018).
What kind of things are covered?
The list of conservation practices are as numerous and diverse as the producers that we support, from designing watering facilities and heavy use areas for ranchers that reduce compaction and nutrient runoff; to irrigation and tail water recovery for blueberry farmers to ensure good water use; to planting pollinator borders to increase pollination for a watermelon farmer.
All that is required is that the land be in production for an agricultural resource (including timber) and that the land owner voluntarily engage the local NRCS office to establish a relationship and begin the process. From there the district conservation staff will help producers navigate the application process and begin to develop a conservation plan.
November 2nd deadline for 2019 funding.
Florida farmers, ranchers, and forest owners can apply until November 2, 2018 for financial assistance from USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) for fiscal year 2019 funding to improve soil, water, air plants, animals, and related resources. NRCS National Headquarters has given states the authority to hold an early sign-up for state selected subaccounts.
The following EQIP-funded initiatives will be eligible for this early obligation period in Florida and will have an application/batching deadline of close of business on November 2nd, 2018: National On-Farm Initiative, National Organic Initiative, High Tunnel System, Strikeforce, Long Leaf Pine Initiative, Working Lands for Wildlife-Quail, and Conservation Activity Plans.
How do I learn more?
For more information contact District Conservationist Israel Vega-Marrero serving Manatee, Sarasota, and Charlotte counties at 941-907-0011 or visit your local NRCS field office and request help to develop a conservation plan. Our experts provide this service to help you use your natural resources more efficiently. To learn about technical and financial assistance available from NRCS, visit
https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USDANRCS/bulletins/20fcc5b, https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/fl/newsroom/releases/?cid=NRCSEPRD1421618, and http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/fl/programs/.