Whether a big or small farm, NRCS EQIP program may be for you


Tony Nye - OSU Extension



What a wonderful last couple of days we have had a chance to enjoy. Maybe you had a chance to do some last-minute outside chores, maybe you just sat outside and enjoyed.

You may have even been one of the “brave” that did some Christmas shopping before the holiday.

Whatever you did, I hope you took some time to enjoy, because winter is coming. I know this because my calendar says so and the farmer’s almanac says so.

This time of year, many of us on the farms around the area are busy getting equipment cleaned and put away until next year. We might be doing some budgeting and ordering farm supplies for next spring’s planting season. Maybe you are working on your dreaded taxes.

Maybe you are considering some new projects for the farm. Whatever the case may be, the projects you have in mind might qualify for an Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

If you did not know, EQIP is a voluntary conservation program which helps producers make conservation work for them. NRCS provides agricultural producers with financial resources and one-on-one help to plan and implement improvements, or what NRCS calls conservation practices.

Using these practices can lead to cleaner water and air, healthier soil and better wildlife habitat, all while improving agricultural operations. Through EQIP, you can voluntarily implement conservation practices, and NRCS co-invests in these practices with you.

Together, NRCS and producers invest in solutions that conserve natural resources for the future while also improving agricultural operations.

Financial assistance is now available in a variety of agricultural categories such as cropland, pasture operations, and organic. Several special projects are also available which address water quality, forestry management, improving pollinator populations and wildlife habitat, pasture improvements and many more.

Several projects are available to also help New and Beginning Farmers and Veterans.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced Friday, Jan. 15, 2021 as the deadline to submit applications for Ohio’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

Applicants should be farmers, or farm or forest landowners and meet eligibility criteria. To participate in USDA conservation programs, contact your local NRCS conservationist as soon as possible.

Be sure to check the status of your Service Center when you reach out to us. For offices with restrictions on in-person appointments, we are still available by phone, email, and through other digital tools.

Your Service Center’s status is available at https://www.farmers.gov/coronavirus/service-center-status.

Applications signed and submitted to NRCS by the Jan. 15 deadline will be evaluated for fiscal year 2021 funding. Make sure you visit Ohio NRCS website under “EQIP Funding Categories” for more details.

There are many projects and categories that qualify so check it out.

To learn more about EQIP or other technical and financial assistance available through NRCS conservation programs, visit Get Started with NRCS or contact the local NRCS and Clinton County Soil and Water Conservation office at 937-382-2461.

Tony Nye is the state coordinator for the Ohio State University Extension Small Farm Program and has been an OSU Extension Educator for agriculture and natural resources for over 30 years, currently serving Clinton County and the Miami Valley EERA.

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Tony Nye

OSU Extension