COLUMBUS — State Conservationist Terry Cosby of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service in Ohio announced the deadline for funding decisions for applications to the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program and Wetlands Reserve Program has been extended to May 29.
The original deadline for application selection was May 8.
While the application process for these farm bill conservation programs is continuous, funding selections are only made once or twice a year.
There are several options within the Environmental Quality Incentives Program to select from, including a special Environmental Quality Incentives Program initiative for organic farmers, as mandated in the 2008 farm bill.
An Air Quality Environmental Quality Incentives Program initiative, a forestry focused Environmental Quality Incentives Program initiative and increased funding for beginning, socially disadvantaged and limited resource farmers are also available.
It is the primary program available to farmers for farmland conservation practices, offering a flat-payment rate for over 50 conservation practices.
The Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program provides technical assistance and cost sharing to restore wildlife habitat.
In Ohio, more than 20 different conservation practices are available, ranging from creating a fish passage to establishing a riparian buffer.
Special priority is given to habitat that benefits species of national or state significance, including declining and endangered species.
The Wetlands Reserve Program makes it easy to create, restore or enhance the wetlands that provide important environmental benefits on your land.
It is a voluntary program offering technical assistance from experts in creating wetlands.
Financial assistance, up to 100 percent of the cost of restoration, is also offered for wetland restorations.
Conservation easements can be placed on the wetland for 30 years or permanently for a lump sum easement payment or payments may be spread out over a period of up to 30 years.
For more information and applications visit www.oh.nrcs.usda.gov or contact the Natural Resources Conservation Service office at the USDA Service Center serving your county.