Here’s a reminder from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Florida that the deadline to apply for two of its major conservation programs is Friday, October 7. They are the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).
The original September 2 deadline, previously extended to September 30, was extended to this Friday to allow farmers, ranchers, and non-industrial private forestland managers who still want to apply to do so after some offices were closed due to Hurricane Ian. All previously closed NRCS offices, except for Lee County’s field office, were scheduled to re-open this week.
Eligible EQIP applicants must be engaged in agricultural production or forestry management or have an interest in the agricultural or forestry operation associated with the land offered for enrollment. Eligible land is that on which agricultural commodities, livestock, or forest-related products are produced, and specifically includes cropland, rangeland, pastureland, nonindustrial private forestland, other agricultural land such as environmentally sensitive areas, and agricultural land used to produce livestock. At least one natural resource concern must be identified and addressed with a conservation practice or activity on eligible land.
For RCPP, Florida private landowners in the St. Marks and Aucilla River watersheds can apply for financial and technical assistance which will help landowners in portions of Leon, Jefferson, Wakulla, Madison, and Taylor counties conduct prescribed burns, remove invasive plants, plant longleaf pine trees, and create wildlife habitat on their property.
Interested producers and landowners should act quickly to submit their applications for these programs by contacting their local NRCS field office.