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NRCS now accepting EQIP applications

Posted on Thursday, February 1, 2024 at 2:34 pm

Application deadline is Friday, November 17, 2023 – Extended deadline for Select Practices through February 16, 2024

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 Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), extended deadline for Select Practices through February 16, 2024.

“EQIP places a priority on water quality, water conservation, and promotes soil health practices by offering financial and technical assistance to address these resource concerns on eligible agricultural land,” NRCS Tennessee State Conservationist Sheldon Hightower said.

EQIP is an incentives-based program that provides technical and financial assistance for conservation systems such as animal waste management facilities, irrigation system efficiency improvements, fencing, and water supply development for improved grazing management, riparian protection, wildlife habitat enhancement, and cover crops for soil resource protection.

EQIP provides numerous conservation initiatives through a variety of funding opportunities. An emphasis on climate smart agriculture will be continued in 2023 through the Inflation Reduction Act. The Inflation Reduction Act represents the single largest investment in climate and clean energy solutions in American history and is estimated to help hundreds of thousands of farmers and ranchers gain access to conservation assistance and apply conservation to millions of acres of land.

Tennessee will implement an extended funding opportunity for select practices through the CPA, DIA, and CEMAs, Soil Health, Urban, Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers, and High Tunnel ranking pools. NRCS Tennessee will be utilizing an ACT NOW approach. Based on the availability of funds, applications with a score greater than a pre-determined threshold will be preapproved once assessed and ranked until funds have been expelled.

Applications can be taken at all NRCS Tennessee county offices and USDA Service Centers. To locate an office near you, please visit the USDA Service Center website. Applications MUST be received in your local service center by 4 p.m. on Friday, November 17. Extended deadline for Select Practices through February 16, 2024.

Applicants can submit a signed and dated Form NRCS-CPA-1200 in the office, hand delivered, mailed, scanned, emailed, or through an agency-approved business tool (Farmers.gov). If NRCS receives a program application request by other means, such as by telephone, a NRCS representative must manually prepare Form NRCS-CPA-1200, using the date NRCS received the request in order to establish the application cut-off deadline has been met. NRCS will follow up to obtain the participant’s signature to ensure the application was properly completed prior to ranking.

NRCS continually strives to put conservation planning at the forefront of its programs and initiatives. Conservation plans provide landowners with a comprehensive inventory and assessment of their resources and an appropriate start to improving the quality of soil, water, air, plants, and wildlife on their land.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In 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 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 in rural America, and committing to equity across the department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America.

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.

The Marion Tribune – November 9, 2023