EQIP money ready for landowners

EQIP money ready for landowners
Nashville – The USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Tennessee is announcing that agricultural producers who want to receive fiscal year 2012 funds in the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and/or the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) should apply by Dec. 15, 2011.
Sign up for both programs is year round, but applications receiving 2012 fiscal year funding must be received by Dec. 15 to compete for funds in the first round of funding.  
Producers should contact their local NRCS office right away to develop or revise their conservation plan to ensure program eligibility. A conservation plan can help producers make critical decisions on practices needed to address natural resource concerns. Landowners or operators are also encouraged to apply as soon as possible so that all preliminary requirements for producer and/or land eligibility can be completed or updated as appropriate.
A suite of high priority practices will be ranked and funded frequently throughout the year as long as funds are available. These practices will be funded in the Beginning Farmer, Socially Disadvantaged Farmer, Water Quality Priority Practice and Special Initiatives fund codes throughout the year.
EQIP is a voluntary conservation program for agricultural producers that promote agricultural production and environmental quality as compatible national goals while addressing natural resource concerns.  EQIP offers financial and technical help to assist eligible participants install or implement structural and/or management practices on eligible agricultural land. WHIP is a voluntary program which encourages creation of high quality wildlife habitats. Through WHIP cost sharing, landowners work with NRCS to develop or enhance upland, wetland, riparian, and aquatic habitat areas on their property.
The funds from both EQIP and WHIP help farmers improve the natural resources on private working lands in Tennessee. Conservation practices help the environment while also making the land more productive by addressing issues like water quantity, water and air quality, wildlife habitat, and treatment of specific invasive species.
Applications that are “ready to implement” on Jan. 27 will be ranked together. A conservation planner will develop a conservation plan that includes practices, engineering designs, and program for each contract before any contract is approved.  Once a contract has been awarded producers are expected to begin implementing conservation practices as soon as possible. Local NRCS field offices have complete details for their county.  
Additional information and access to ranking criteria, practices, and cost share rates for EQIP and WHIP can be found at www.tn.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/.  Easement Programs deadline will be announced in the near future.

WCP 11.10.11

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