The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is seeking public comments on its interim rule for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). The rule, which is now available on the Federal Register, will take effect upon publication and includes changes to the program prescribed by the 2018 Farm Bill.
In a release, NRCS Chief Matthew Lohr said “The Environmental Quality Incentives Program gives farmers, ranchers and forest landowners the tools they need to improve their agricultural operations while conserving natural resources. The 2018 Farm Bill further strengthens this popular conservation program to enable NRCS to better support locally led conservation efforts while also expanding producers’ ability to address significant resource concerns.”
EQIP helps producers plan and implement over 150 conservation practices on working lands, and NRCS will make available $1.2 billion for interested producers in fiscal 2020. NRCS state offices will announce signup periods for EQIP in the coming weeks.
NRCS invites comments on this interim rule through February 17, 2020. Electronic comments must be submitted through regulations.gov under Docket ID NRCS-2019-0009. NRCS will evaluate public comments to determine whether additional changes are needed. The agency plans on publishing a final rule following public comment review.
For more information on how to sign up for EQIP contact your local NRCS field office.