The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is offering an early selection of applications for Michigan farmers who want to get conservation on the ground this spring. Farmers who submit their applications by Dec. 15, 2017, and are selected for funding should have a contract in place to apply conservation practices in the spring.
“We are having an early selection of applications for 2018 conservation funds so that farmers can use the financial assistance for putting agronomic and vegetative practices on the ground this spring,” said Garry Lee, state conservationist for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. “Farmers wanting to implement conservation practices like conservation tillage and nutrient management can have a contract in place to help cover the costs.”
Conservation financial assistance is available through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) administered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The funding is available to all eligible agricultural producers and non-industrial private forest owners in Michigan.
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 and many others. Applications are ranked and selected for funding on a competitive basis.
Conservation activities receiving financial assistance must be part of an agricultural or forest operation’s conservation plan. Successful applicants enter into a contract with NRCS to implement conservation activities and are reimbursed for a portion of the cost. A second round of selections for Environmental Quality Incentives Program funds is planned for January and additional selections may be held if funds are available. 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.