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Vermont NRCS Announces New EQIP Conservation Incentive Contracts Signup

www.vt.nrcs.usda.gov

December 16, 2021--Justin Tuthill, Acting NRCS State Conservationist for USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Vermont, announced that April 1, 2022, will be the first-round funding ranking date for Conservation Incentive Contracts (CIC), a new option available through the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP). “EQIP incentive contracts can be a steppingstone for producers who want to transition from EQIP classic to Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) contracts,” said Tuthill.

EQIP is a voluntary conservation program available for agricultural producers.  Through EQIP, NRCS provides financial and technical assistance to install conservation practices that reduce soil erosion and sedimentation, improve soil health, improve water and air quality and create wildlife habitat.

In fiscal year 2022, NRCS expanded EQIP to include Conservation Incentive Contracts.  

The following three land uses and associated resource concerns will be prioritized in Vermont:

Forestland: Degraded Plant Condition; Terrestrial Habitat; Pest Pressure

Cropland: Field Sediment, Nutrient, and Pathogen Loss; Soil Quality Limitations; Wind and Water Erosion

Grazing: Degraded Plant Condition; Livestock Production Limitation; Concentrated Erosion

EQIP CIC enhances resource benefits for producers through incentive conservation practices such as cover crops, transition to resource conserving crop rotations and precision agriculture technologies on cropland. It allows producers to apply management practices on their operation, which can then be a gateway to CSP enrollment and achievement of a higher level of conservation stewardship on their entire operation.

Producers should submit a signed application to the local NRCS field office indicating their interest in a five-year EQIP-CIC contract. While applications are accepted on a continuous basis, interested producers should submit applications to their local NRCS office by April 1 to be considered for this funding period. 

Participants in EQIP must meet eligibility requirements. NRCS staff will work with producers to determine eligibility and complete necessary worksheets and rankings in order for the applicant to compete for funding. 

For more information about EQIP and other technical and financial assistance available through Vermont NRCS conservation programs, visit https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/myportal/nrcsstaging/main/vt/programs/financial/ or contact your local NRCS office https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/myportal/nrcsstaging/main/vt/contact/

You can view a fact sheet on EQIP CIC in Vermont here.