EQIP applications are open to AR farmers and landowners

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KAIT) – Applications for financial assistance to farmers and landowners to implement conservation activities under the Environmental Quality Incentive Scheme will be open for the 2023 program year until to November 4, 2022.

A press release from the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service said assistance is available to help farmers and landowners plan and implement conservation practices to improve water quality. , build healthier soils, improve pasture and forest land, conserve energy, improve organic operations, establish or enhance wildlife. habitat and achieve other environmental benefits on the landscape.

The NRCS accepts applications to the program on an ongoing basis, but applications received after November 4 will be considered for subsequent funding periods, “subject to the availability of funds”.

“EQIP contracts provide financial assistance to help plan and implement conservation practices to improve soil health, water quality, improve pasture and forest land, and establish or improve habitat wildlife,” the press release read. “EQIP can also help Arkansas growers meet federal, state and local environmental regulations.”

Officials have listed the following additional special initiative offerings from NRCS.

  • Organic Initiative – helps growers install conservation practices on certified organic farms or those working towards organic certification.
  • On-Farm Energy Initiative – helps producers save energy on their farms.
  • StrikeForce Initiative – additional support for underserved producers in 48 persistently poor counties: Arkansas, Bradley, Chicot, Clark, Columbia, Dallas, Desha, Drew, Hempstead, Howard, Jackson, Lafayette, Lawrence, Lee, Mississippi, Monroe, Nevada, Newton, Ouachita, Phillips, Randolph, Searcy, Sevier, St. Francis, Woodruff, Ashley, Clay, Conway, Craighead, Crittenden, Franklin, Fulton, Independence, Izard, Jefferson, Johnson, Lincoln, Madison, Miller, Montgomery, Poinsett, Polk, Scott, Sebastien, Sharp, Stone, Union and Van Buren.
  • Strikeforce Healthy Forest Initiative (Keeping It In the Family) – additional assistance to underserved producers to improve forest lands with forest conservation practices in 18 counties: Bradley, Calhoun, Clark, Cleveland, Columbia, Dallas, Drew, Hempstead, Howard , Jefferson, Lafayette, Little River, Miller, Nevada, Ouachita, Pike, Sevier, Union.
  • Working Lands for Wildlife Initiative – provides financial and technical assistance to producers to improve early successional habitat to aid in the recovery of bobwhite quail.
  • Arkansas Groundwater Initiative (AGWI) – targeted approach to address critical issues of declining groundwater in the Arkansas Delta, providing assistance to agricultural producers in seven counties: Arkansas, Prairie and parts of Craighead, Cross, Lonoke, Poinsett and St. Francis.
  • Existing National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI) Projects – provides financial and technical assistance to improve water quality and aquatic habitats in priority watersheds with degraded streams. Projects include Brush Creek-Roberts Creek in Washington and Madison counties.
  • Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative (MRBI) Existing Projects – provides assistance to improve water quality in the following project areas: Cache – parts of Woodruff, Jackson, and Cross counties, Middle Cache – parts of Jackson counties , Woodruff, Poinsett and Craighead, Lower St. Francis – parts of Crittenden, Cross and St. Francis counties, Upper Lower St. Francis – parts of Clay and Greene counties, Cadron Creek Brewer Lake – parts of Conway and Faulkner counties , Candy Creek – parts of Cross, St Francis and Woodruff Counties, Canal 43 – parts of Desha and Chicot Counties, Twin Creeks – parts of Cross and Woodruff Counties, Izard Lower Strawberry – parts of Izard and Sharp Counties, County Line Strawberry – parts of Lawrence and Sharp Counties, Flat Hills – parts of Poinsett and Cross Counties, Glade-Raft-White Oak Creek – parts of White and Prairie Counties, Lee County – part of Lee County, Lower White Bayou Des Arcs – part of Prairie County

Applications received will be evaluated against local, regional and national criteria to optimize environmental benefits.

Candidates can register with their local USDA NRCS service center.

For more information, visit http://www.ar.nrcs.usda.gov/ or contact your local USDA/NRCS Service Center https://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app.

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