USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) State Conservationist for Alabama Ben Malone announced that January 25, 2019 will be the signup batching deadline for producers for Fiscal Year 2019 for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and initiatives offered through the program. In addition to the January 25,, 2019 deadline, Malone announced that a 2nd signup batching date has been set for April 25, 2019.
Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) which includes wildlife, forestry, cropland erosion, cropland irrigation, grazing land, and water quality concerns. National and Statewide initiatives are also included through EQIP funding. These include:
- Forest Service Partnership: provides producers in approved areas with assistance to manage, restore, or enhance the historic shortleaf pine forest landscape on private lands.
- On-Farm Energy: enables the producer to identify ways to conserve energy on the farm through retrofitting their existing operation.
- Organic: provides financial assistance to help implement conservation practices for organic producers or those transitioning to organic.
- Seasonal High Tunnel: assists producers by extending the growing season for high value crops in an environmentally safe manner.
- Urban High Tunnel: NRCS Alabama will provide financial assistance to urban farmers to install high tunnel systems in the Birmingham and Bessemer Alabama area.
- Conservation Activity Plans (CAPs): EQIP funding is available for the development of a CAP which can be developed for producers to identify conservation practices to address a specific natural resource need such as transitioning to organic operations, grazing land, energy, forest land or nutrient management.
- Feral Swine Management: Provides financial and technical assistance to landowners in monitoring feral swine in selected project areas within the state.
- Working Lands for Wildlife 2.0: will assist agricultural producers and forest land managers in creating, enhancing and managing Bobwhite Quail Habitat.
- Sustainable Forestry and Landowner Retention (U.S. Endowment): will assist historically underserved forest landowners in in select counties in West Alabama implement forestry related practices.
- Alabama Soil Health: will assist applicants address soil quality related resource concerns on their operations. This funding pool is available for designated counties in North and South Alabama.
- Strikeforce: Working with farmers and ranchers in communities that face persistent poverty, conservation practices will help promote clean air and water, healthy soil, wildlife habitat and resistance to extreme weather events, such as drought.
- Soil Quality: will assist applicants address soil quality related resource concerns on their operations.
- Statewide Irrigation: will assist applicants statewide to assist producers address irrigation efficiency resource concerns.
- Combustion Engine Improvement: will assist agricultural producers convert from fossil fuel to electric powered center pivot irrigation systems.
- The United Christian Community Association (TUCCA): will assist applicants in designated Strikeforce counties in West Alabama address grazing and irrigation efficiency related resource concerns.
- Gulf of Mexico Initiative (GOMI): offers financial and technical assistance to landowners that are interested in improving water quality, increased water conservation and enhanced wildlife habitat in selected priority watersheds draining into the Gulf of Mexico.
Applications are accepted on a continuous basis; however, selecting applications for funding is completed periodically through batching periods with specific cutoff dates. In EQIP programs, eligible producers may receive a payment based on the statewide average cost of the installation of the conservation practice.
In EQIP programs, eligible producers may receive a payment based on the statewide average cost of the installation of the conservation practice.
Special emphasis participants like socially disadvantaged, limited resource, and beginning farmers and ranchers are eligible for a higher payment rate. In addition, socially disadvantaged, limited resource, and beginning farmers and ranchers can receive up to 50 percent advanced payment for purchasing materials or contracting.
For more information about NRCS and its programs, visit your local USDA Service Center to determine eligibility. Individuals are not eligible for USDA programs until they have completed the Farm Bill eligibility requirements. General program information is available on the Alabama NRCS website at www.al.nrcs.usda.gov.