The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Florida is still accepting applications from urban agricultural producers for Urban Agriculture and Innovation Production (UAIP) projects under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). This program offers producers technical and financial assistance to address resource concerns on their land.
“Urban agriculture projects can help improve nutrition and food access and increase local food production in urban communities,” said Juan Hernandez, State Conservationist in Florida. “With 80 percent of the U.S. population living in or near urban centers, urban agriculture can make a significant positive impact on the health and well-being of many individuals.”
“Agriculture is not defined by the location of the farm or the size of the plot. Agriculture is the source of our Nation’s food and fiber, and it continues to grow in impact and importance in our urban areas,” said Deborah Tannenbaum, State Executive Director for the USDA Florida Farm Service Agency.
NRCS serves all agriculture – large to small, conventional to organic, rural to urban. As American agriculture continues to grow in new directions, NRCS conservation assistance is growing along with it. By bringing cultivation and opportunity to both rural and urban areas.
Eligible areas for the program are those that have a population of 50 thousand or higher and include a two-mile adjoining radius. Urban agricultural projects will be ranked according to priority resource concerns. The top three resource concerns in Florida are: source water depletion; degraded plant conditions; and field, sediment, nutrient, and pathogen loss. Other priority resource concerns include field pesticide loss, inefficient energy use, pest pressure, soil quality limitations, terrestrial habitat, weather resilience, and storage and handling of pollutants.
While USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) accepts these applications year-round, Florida producers and landowners should apply by May 13, 2022, to be considered for funding in the current cycle.?
To learn more about EQIP Urban Agricultural Initiative projects, contact NRCS at your local USDA Service Center.