Farmers and forest owners are encouraged to submit applications for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) conservation assistance by Jan. 19, 2018.
Conservation financial assistance is available for implementing a wide variety of practices to reduce soil erosion, improve wildlife habitat, protect water quality and manage private forest land.
“USDA conservation programs can help farmers reduce erosion and protect water quality while maintaining or improving production. Producers who submit their applications by Jan. 19, will be sure to have their applications considered for funding this year.” said USDA State Conservationist Garry Lee.
Conservation financial assistance is available through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) administered by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Complete applications received by Jan. 19 will be ranked and considered for fiscal year 2018 funding.
Financial assistance is available for implementing designated conservation practices such as windbreaks, nutrient management plans, cover crops, forest management plans, crop residue and tillage management, animal waste storage facilities and many others. Applications are ranked and selected for funding on a competitive basis.
A portion of USDA conservation funding is targeted to state-level conservation priorities. These include funds for farmers seeking Michigan Agricultural Environmental Assurance Program verification, high tunnels in Wayne and Genesee counties, honey bee habitat, organic producers and producers transitioning to organic production, creating or improving monarch butterfly habitat, practices to address concentrated flow erosion, and energy conservation.
Conservation activities receiving financial assistance must be part of an agricultural or forest operation’s conservation plan. Producers should work with their local NRCS or conservation district staff to develop a conservation plan before applying for the program. Successful applicants enter into a contract with NRCS to implement conservation activities and are reimbursed for a portion of the cost.
NRCS provides higher levels of financial assistance for beginning farmers and historically underserved producers. Applications are accepted on a continuous basis, producers and forest owners are encouraged to submit applications at any time.
More information about conservation financial assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program is available at local NRCS offices and online.
Funds are available in the Western Lake Erie Basin, the Saginaw Bay area, the St. Joseph River Watershed, and the Lower Grand River Partnership.
The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service has financial assistance available through the Tri-State Western Lake Erie Basin Phosphorus Reduction Initiative.
Financial assistance is available for implementing conservation practices that improve water quality and soil health. The portion of the Western Lake Erie Basin in Michigan includes Lenawee and Monroe counties and portions of Branch, Hillsdale, Jackson, Washtenaw and Wayne counties.
The Tri-State Western Lake Erie Basin Phosphorus Reduction Initiative was selected for funding through the USDA Regional Conservation Partnership Program. The partnership includes a number of public, private and non-profit partner organizations, led by NRCS and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Partner organizations will assist in promoting conservation to landowners and monitoring the impact of conservation practices implemented through the initiative.
In the Saginaw Bay area, some conservation practices eligible for financial assistance include cover crops, filter strips, no-till and reduced tillage, nutrient management and conservation cover.
Areas eligible for conservation financial assistance include the Cass, Kawkawlin, Pine-Chippewa, Pigeon, Pinnebog, Sebewaing and Shiawassee watersheds.
More information including a map of eligible watersheds are posted on the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Michigan website and the Saginaw Bay Regional Conservation Partnership web page.
The portion of the St. Joseph River watershed in Michigan includes Branch, Cass and St. Joseph counties and portions of Berrien, Calhoun, Hillsdale, Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties.
Conservation financial assistance through the Lower Grand Partnership Project is available for implementing a variety of designated practices to improve water quality and wildlife habitat. Some of these practices include; utilizing cover crops, conservation crop rotation, establishing vegetation for wildlife and pollinator habitat, vegetative filter strips and field borders, forest stand improvement, grassed waterways and nutrient management plans. In addition to the USDA and the Grand Valley Metro Council, other partners in the Lower Grand River Watershed Habitat Restoration and Farmland Conservation Project include the Kent Conservation District, the Rogue River Watershed Partners, Trout Unlimited and local government agencies.