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Sign Up Now for the Gift of Conservation - The Union Star: News

Sign Up Now for the Gift of Conservation

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Posted: Friday, November 30, 2018 2:44 pm

Sign Up Now for the Gift of Conservation

Are you shopping for ways to improve the health and function of your land in the coming year? USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is now offering the gift of conservation with customized plans for large and small acreages and funding through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) to help put them into action.

Virginia farmers and forest landowners can sign up for financial assistance to install recommended conservation practices on cropland, pastureland, and non-industrial private forestland. NRCS accepts applications year-round but makes funding selections at specific times. Those interested in fiscal year 2019 funding must submit applications on or before January 18, 2018.

NRCS will continue to accept general EQIP applications with these special fund pools available to Virginia producers/landowners:

High Tunnel System – Steel-framed, polyethylene-covered structures to extend the growing season in an environmentally safe manner;  


Longleaf Pine – Stand establishment and management within the historical range in Southeastern Virginia;  


Northern Bobwhite in Working Grasslands – Native grass restoration to address habitat loss while maintaining or improving cattle production on the land;


American Black Duck Initiative – Focused conservation practices to restore wintering habitat in the Delaware Bay and Chesapeake Bay watersheds;


Golden-winged Warbler – Young forest habitat restoration in Appalachian breeding territory;


National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI) – Targeted practices to clean up impaired streams and improve aquatic habitats in the War Branch and Mountain Run watersheds in Rockingham County and Gap Creek in Rockingham and Shenandoah County; 


On-Farm Energy – Agricultural Energy Management Plans (AgEMP) or farm energy audits to assess energy use and recommend ways to reduce it; 


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EQIP Signups

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Organic – Practices to help certified organic growers, those working to achieve organic certification, and specialty crop producers address resource concerns on their operations;

StrikeForce – Priority ranking for cropland, high tunnel, and livestock practices to support program participation among underserved producers in rural communities;

Joint Chiefs Landscape Restoration Partnership – Cropland and forestry practices to reduce wildfire threats, protect water quality, and enhance wildlife habitat in the Upper and Lower Cowpasture watersheds;

Conservation Activity Plans – Development of site-specific plans to recommend conservation practices that will address an identified natural resource need.

Each applicant should submit a signed and dated Conservation Program Application to the local NRCS service center by close of business on the published deadline for a given batching period. Applicants must meet USDA program eligibility requirements to be considered for funding. NRCS will not accept applications from individuals/entities without farm records established through USDA’s Farm Service Agency. The name, tax identification number, and address provided must also match IRS income tax records.

Applicants approved for financial assistance will receive a payment based on an NRCS determination of incurred costs and income sacrificed for practice implementation. If you previously applied for EQIP and were not funded, contact your local NRCS Service Center for more information.

Call or visit your local NRCS office to learn more about USDA program eligibility requirements and how EQIP and other Farm Bill programs can help you better protect and manage natural resources on your land. Visit farmers.gov for USDA service center locations. General program information is available on the NRCS Virginia website at www.va.nrcs.usda.gov.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in its programs on the bases of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, marital status, family status, parental status, sexual orientation, and/or political beliefs. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs). Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audio tape, etc.) should contact the USDA Office of Communications at (202) 720-2791.

To file a complaint, write the Secretary of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, DC, 20250, or call 1-800-245-6340 (voice) or (202) 720-1127 (TDD). USDA is an Equal Employment Opportunity employer.


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