COLCHESTER, VT, March 1, 2016--The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced that April 15, 2016, is the next cut-off date to apply for fiscal year 2016 funds through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)."EQIP provides tremendous support to Vermont farmers and landowners interested in protecting and improving soil and water quality," State Conservationist Vicky Drew said. While EQIP is offered through a continuous signup, NRCS makes periodic funding selections.
EQIP allows farmers, ranchers, forestland managers and landowners to conserve natural resources by making available financial assistance for a variety of conservation activities, such as cover crops, rotational grazing systems, field buffers and animal waste management systems. Drew says it benefits the producer to complete applications early, as the process may take as long as four months to be approved. Applications must be submitted and approved before implementing conservation practices, as waivers to begin installing practices prior to receiving a contract can only be approved under limited circumstances.
This year, VT NRCS will make available a total of $11,000,000 to farmers and forest landowners in VT to help plan and implement conservation practices that address natural resource concerns and for opportunities to improve soil, water, plant, animal, air and related resources on agricultural land and non-industrial private forestland.Approximately 75% of the funds that are available will be targeted toward conservation practices that support water quality improvements in the Lake Champlain watershed. There is also the potential for up to 90% funding for practice installation targeted to customers who qualify as historically underserved. In addition, applicants within four Vermont watersheds have been identified as priority areas for funding. The watersheds are McKenzie Brook, St. Albans Bay, Pike River, and Rock River.
EQIP can also help Vermont farmers meet Federal, State, and local environmental regulations.
EQIP is an important Farm Bill conservation program that helps established farmers as well as beginning, historically underserved, and limited resource producers. 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.