USDA announces new EQIP funds

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Farm and Dairy file photo.

COLUMBUS — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service has 2016 federal conservation program funds available for Ohio farmers and forestland owners.

Farmers and forestland owners may apply for funding under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) at any time throughout the year, but application selections for funding are made at specific times.

The first 2016 application deadline is Feb. 19. EQIP provides financial assistance for conservation management and structures (practices) and technical assistance to develop a conservation plan.

Landowners should make an appointment with their local NRCS office as soon as possible to begin the conservation planning process. Applications for EQIP submitted by entities, such as farmers applying as a corporation, must register with the Central Contractor Registration, a process that can take up to three weeks.

Information about CCR requirements, including obtaining a Data Universal Number System (DUNS) number, is posted on the NRCS website at www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/farmbill.

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.

Livestock EQIP

Livestock farmers statewide (includes pastured livestock)

Cropland EQIP. Crop farmers statewide EXCEPT those farming in the Western Lake Erie Basin Watershed (future 2016 EQIP funding will be available for crop farmers in this watershed).

Forestry EQIP. Private forestland owners statewide.

Southern Ohio Appalachian EQIP. Pasture operations in Adams, Athens, Coshocton, Gallia, Guernsey, Harrison, Highland, Jackson, Jefferson, Lawrence, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble, Perry, Pike, Scioto, Vinton and Washington Counties.

Cerulean Warbler Regional Conservation Partnership Program RCPP. Tree planting on reclaimed mined land in Adams, Athens, Belmont, Carroll, Coshocton, Gallia, Guernsey, Harrison, Hocking, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Lawrence, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble, Perry, Pike, Ross, Scioto, Tuscarawas, Vinton, and Washington Counties.

East Fork Watershed Nutrient Reduction RCPP. Crop and pasture land in portions of Brown, Clermont, Clinton and Highland Counties.

Promoting Best Management Practices for Phosphorus RCPP. Cropland in portions of Delaware, Knox, Licking and Morrow Counties.

Upper Paint Creek Mississippi River Basin Initiative. Crop, forest, livestock and pasture operations in Clark, Clinton, Fayette, Greene and Madison Counties.

Additional EQIP funding will be available in 2016 for other landscape-based initiatives and priority natural resource issues.

NRCS will post announcements of these future deadlines on the Ohio NRCS website, at http://www.oh.nrcs.usda.gov.

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