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Farm Bill and Inflation Reduction Act opportunities for fiscal year 2024

Posted on Tuesday, February 20, 2024 at 10:27 am

The NRCS is accepting applications for fiscal year 2024 for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, Conservation Stewardship Program and Agricultural Conservation Easement Program, which help a wide variety of producers, including urban and organic producers.

NRCS has $3 billion in Inflation Reduction Act funds to invest in climate-smart mitigation activities. This year, NRCS expanded the list of those activities as well as expanded priority areas for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program for grasslands, wetlands and farmlands at risk of conversion. Learn more about those expansions in the Sept. 28, 2023, news release.

Additionally, for fiscal year 2024, NRCS has more than $2 billion in Farm Bill funding available to producers for priorities like organic and urban agriculture, soil health, water quality and quantity and wildlife habitat development. This extensive amount of funding will be used to meet producer demand for our oversubscribed programs, maximize climate benefits and help producers address their natural resource challenges.

NRCS accepts producer applications for its conservation programs year-round. Tennessee producers who are interested in implementing conservation practices to improve natural resources on their farmland have until Friday, November 17 to submit their application for financial assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, The EQIP ACT Now applications are currently being accepted until February 16, 2024. IRA funds are providing some unique funding opportunities with both of these signups.

NRCS provides technical and financial assistance for conservation practices that are popular among organic as well as traditional producers, including cover crops, integrated pest management, drip irrigation, high tunnels and rotational grazing. Additionally, for those producers transitioning to organic production, NRCS also provides assistance for a new organic management conservation practice, which was introduced in fiscal year 2023 as part of USDA’s Organic Transition Initiative.

The new organic management practice allows flexibility for producers to get the assistance and education they need, such as attending workshops or requesting help from experts or mentors. It supports organic conservation activities and practices required for organic certification and may provide foregone income reimbursement for dips in production during the transition period. Learn more on NRCS’ Organic Agriculture webpage.

NRCS provides technical and financial assistance for conservation practices that are popular among urban producers, including high tunnels, soil health management systems, composting, irrigation, and weed and pest management. Urban agriculture includes the cultivation, processing, and distribution of agricultural products in urban and suburban areas. Community gardens, rooftop farms, hydroponic, aeroponic and aquaponic facilities and vertical production, are all examples of urban agriculture. Learn more on NRCS’ Urban Agriculture webpage.

Contact Garrett Morris at garrett.morris@usda.gov or 615-277-2576, for more information about the EQIP program in Tennessee, or visit the NRCS Tennessee website.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under the Biden-Harris administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy, and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities throughout America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit usda.gov.