Wednesday, October 5, 2016

USDA offers Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) Sign-up.

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting applications from landowners in Guernsey and Noble counties for the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) until October 28, 2016
What is EQIP?  
The Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) is a voluntary program that provides financial and technical assistance to landowners and agricultural producers to plan and implement conservation practices that improve soil, water, plant, animal, air, and other related natural resources. EQIP may also assist landowners with meeting Federal, State, and Local environmental regulations.  Financial assistance payments through EQIP are made to eligible landowners and producers on completed practices or activities identified in an EQIP contract that meets NRCS Standards. Payment rates are set each fiscal year and are attached to the EQIP contract when it is approved. Payment rates for each Conservation Practice can be found at the Ohio NRCS Website.
EQIP includes Conservation planning and financial assistance:
NRCS provides landowners and land managers with free technical assistance, or advice for their land. Technical assistance includes: Resource assessment, practice design and resource monitoring. Your conservation planner will help you determine if and what financial assistance is right for you. Dedicated EQIP funds are available for conservation practices targeting On-Farm Energy, Organic Systems, High Tunnel Systems, Honeybee and other wildlife habitat, as well as several landscape-based initiatives, including:  Livestock, Pasture, Cropland, Forestry, and Wildlife categories.
 Eligibility for financial assistance:
As part of the application process, we will check to see if you are eligible. To be eligible you as a landowner, or land manager, will need to bring an official tax ID to the USDA service center. Applicants will also need a property deed or lease agreement that shows you have control of the property. If USDA records are not already established, the applicant can establish or update their records at the USDA service center. Other documents may be necessary for the applicant to be eligible for funding. An eligibility document checklist is available for applicants on the Ohio NRCS Website or at a local USDA service center.
Competitive ranking of applications:
Once a complete and valid application is submitted that is supported by a conservation plan, NRCS will look at the applications and rank them when the funding period opens. All applications are ranked based on National, State, and Local resource concerns. The amount of conservation benefits to the environment in supporting the conservation plan, and the needs of the applicant are considered in the ranking process. Ranking questions are of public record and can be found on the Ohio NRCS website.

Stop by the USDA Service Center at 1300 Clark St. Suite 10, Cambridge, Ohio 43725. Or call Jay McElroy, District Conservationist at 740-432-5621 ext. 119 to discuss and see if EQIP is right for you.

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