NRCS Reminds Farmers of Available Programs

Randall Weiseman Alabama, USDA-NRCS

The Alabama NRCS wants to remind famers about the possibilities that their EQIP and WHIP programs offer. Alabama landowners, including limited resource producers and new or beginning farmers, who have resource concerns on pasture land, cropland, forest, or land used for wildlife, are encouraged to participate.

The EQIP program provides technical and financial assistance to individuals interested in addressing soil, water, air, and related natural resource concerns on their operations. EQIP generally supports a wide variety of activities: the establishment of permanent covers, erosion control, grazing protection, wildlife habitat enhancement, soil quality, and various water quality protection systems. Forestry practices which are generally supported include tree planting, forest stand improvement, site preparation for natural regeneration and forest stand analysis leading to better forest management. The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (2008 Farm Bill) expanded the purpose of EQIP to include forest management, energy conservation, as well as practices related to organic production and fuel management.

Land eligible for WHIP includes: Private agricultural land, Non-industrial private forest land, and Tribal land. The WHIP program provides both technical and financial assistance to individuals interested in establishing and improving wildlife habitat on private land. NRCS will work with participants to develop a wildlife habitat development plan which becomes the basis of the financial assistance agreement. Conservation minded landowners are encouraged to participate.

The batching period for these programs is January 31, 2009.