The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service in Florida (NRCS in FL) is accepting applications for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), climate-smart practices through EQIP and CSP funded by the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), and the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).
While NRCS accepts applications for these programs year-round, Florida producers and landowners should apply by November 17, 2023,to be considered for funding in the FY2024 current cycle.
Through EQIP, NRCS provides agricultural producers with one-on-one help and financial assistance to plan and implement conservation practices to address a variety of issues such as water quality degradation, soil erosion, soil quality degradation, and inadequate habitat for fish and wildlife.
EQIP-IRA applications must include at least one core Climate Smart Agriculture and Forestry (CSAF) conservation practice or activity that directly improves soil carbon, reduces nitrogen losses, or reduces, captures, avoids or sequesters carbon dioxide, methane or nitrous emissions associated with agricultural productions. Facilitating practices or activities that are needed to implement the core practice may also be included.
Florida NRCS’ IRA focus for FY24 will include but is not limited to improving energy efficiency of stationary equipment and facilities on agriculture operations to reduce energy use; increasing total carbon stored in soils and/or perennial biomass to reduce atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and enhance carbon sequestration.
Through CSP, NRCS works one-on-one with producers to develop a conservation plan that outlines and enhances existing efforts while improving their agricultural operations.
Using new conservation practices or activities, agricultural producers can adopt practices and activities that expand on the benefits of cleaner water and air, healthier soil, and better wildlife habitat, all based on management objectives specific to their farming operation.
Through RCPP, NRCS seeks to co-invest with partners to implement projects that demonstrate innovative solutions to conservation challenges and provide measurable improvements and outcomes tied to the resource concerns they seek to address.
Applicants will need to provide records and forms necessary to establish farm records and certifications outlined below.
- Farm records established or updated with the Farm Service Agency for the applicant and the land
- Be in compliance with highly erodible land and wetland conservation requirements
- Meet the adjusted gross income (AGI) and payment limitation provisions
- Applicable documentation required for signature authority
- Have control of land where “control” means possession of the land by ownership, lease, or other agreement
- Written concurrence from the landowner to apply a structural or vegetative conservation practice
- Be in compliance with provisions for protecting the interests of tenants and sharecroppers
Contact NRCS at your local USDA Service Center for more information.