Applications for NCRS funding are due by March 30
March 30 is the cut-off date to apply for Missouri USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service fiscal year 2020 funds through the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) and the Regional Con-servation Partnership Program - Environmental Quality Incentive Program.
EQIP gives farmers, ranchers, forestland managers and landowners an opportunity to conserve natural resources by making financial assistance available to improve soil, water, air, plants, animals, and related resources.
“EQIP allows producers the opportunity to apply for financial assistance to address resource concerns on their land,” Acting State Conservationist Grover DePriest said.
Soil health will be a priority again in fiscal year 2020. Along with helping row crop farmers increase organic matter and water-holding capacity, funding will be available for farmers and ranchers to incorporate pasture and hay land practices that improve soil health and resiliency to drought. Funding will also be available to address resource concerns through agroforestry.
The March 30 application deadline also applies to the following initiatives:
• High tunnel initiative - The purpose of the high tunnel initiative is to assist producers to extend the growing season for high value crops in an environmentally safe manner. The practice has the potential to assist producers to address resource concerns by improving plant quality, improving soil quality and reducing nutrient and pesticide transport.
• Organic initiative - The EQIP organic initiative assists eligible applicants to install conservation practices on agricultural operations related to organic production such as certified organic producers, producers transitioning to organic production, and certification- exempt producers according to the USDA-National Organic Program.
• On-farm energy initiative - The EQIP on-farm energy initiative assists producers by identifying ways to conserve energy on the farm through an agricultural energy management plan, also known as an on-farm energy audit; and by providing financial and technical assistance to help the producer implement recommendations and conservation practices identified in the audit plan.
• Soil health cropland initiative - The soil health cropland initiative is a state initiative focused on assisting cropland producers address resource concerns associated with soil quality degradation to implement soil health management systems on their farms.
• Agroforestry initiative - The agroforestry initiative is a state initiative focused on assisting farmers addressing resource concerns with agroforestry practices including tree and shrub establishment, alley cropping, windbreak/shelterbelt, silvopasture establishment, riparian forest buffer and more.
• Joint Chief’s Landscape Restoration Partnership - Missouri’s Central Ozark Glade, Woodland, and Native Diversity Restoration Project is one of 16 projects selected nationally for funding in fiscal year 2020. This project will provide additional funding to mitigate wildfire risk, improve water quality and restore healthy forest ecosystems on private forestland in Ozark, Phelps, Pulaski, Texas, Howell, Douglas, Christian, Taney, Stone and Barry counties.
NRCS accepts applications for all its programs on a continuous basis, but applications must be filed for these programs by March 30 to be eligible for the next round of funding. Farmers can submit applications as local NRCS offices. NRCS also offers free technical assistance to all Missouri residents.
For more information about NRCS programs and assistance, visit mo.nrcs.usda.gov or contact the NRCS service office in Ava 417-683-4212. NRCS employees in county offices can provide more information about how to apply for benefits offered by NRCS.