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NRCS announces April 20 deadline for VT farmers to apply for agronomic practices, high tunnel assistance

NRCS announces April 20 deadline for Vermont farmers to apply for agronomic practices, high tunnel assistance

COLCHESTER, VT, February 15, 2018--The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced that April 20 is the next cut-off date to apply for fiscal year 2018 funds through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). While EQIP is offered through a continuous signup, NRCS makes periodic funding selections.

 EQIP assistance can help farmers install practices like cover crops which prevent erosion, supply nutrients to crops, suppress weeds, and improve soil health. The funding will also help with installation of high tunnels systems. High tunnels are polyethylene, plastic or fabric covered hoop structures that can be assembled for a fraction of the cost, with plants grown in raised beds or grown directly in the ground.

 Because the growing conditions are controlled, plant health is optimized. High tunnels protect plants from severe weather and allow farmers to extend their growing seasons – growing earlier into the spring, later into the fall, and sometimes, year-round. And because high tunnels prevent direct rainfall from reaching plants, farmers can use precise tools like drip irrigation to efficiently deliver water and nutrients to plants. Another benefit of high tunnels is that they help farmers provide their communities with healthy local food for much of the year – food that requires less energy and transportation inputs and provides communities with greater food security.

There is also the potential for up to 90% funding for practice installation targeted to customers who qualify as historically underserved

Assistance through EQIP can also help Vermont farmers meet Federal, State, and local environmental regulations, such as the Required Ag Practices (RAP’s). 

Learn more by visiting the Vermont NRCS EQIP website or contact your local NRCS office.

 For the latest conservation updates, follow Vermont NRCS on Twitter @VermontNRCS.