The application deadline for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) in Washington state has been extended to October 16, 2015.
The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), which operates the program, says that eligible producers, including forest landowners, now have until October 16 to submit applications for consideration in fiscal year 2016. The original deadline was July 17, 2015. Producers should also expect to work with NRCS to write a personalized conservation plan before funding is authorized.
The voluntary federal program provides technical and financial assistance program to farmers who want to improve irrigation efficiency; manage run-off of nutrients or animal waste; improve the health of native plant communities; and reduce soil losses. In most instances, producers who participate in the program pay for roughly half of the costs of the conservation measures or practices.
EQIP funding options include:
EQIP Local Working Group funding pool: Funding for regional priority resource concerns identified by counties.
EQIP Organic Initiative: Helps organic farmers, ranchers and dairy operators and those transitioning to organic production in Washington state to plan and install conservation measures such as buffer strips, conservation crop rotation, cover crops, field borders, mulching, nutrient management, and other steps.
EQIP High Tunnel Initiative: Financial and technical assistance for agricultural producers to plan and install seasonal high tunnels to extend the growing season and improve soil health.
EQIP Conservation Activity Plans. Plans can be developed for producers to identify conservation practices that address a specific natural resource needs.
EQIP Energy Initiative: Helps producers conserve energy on their farms through on-farm energy audits.
EQIP Sage Grouse Initiative: Helps private landowners to voluntarily protect sage-grouse populations and habitat on their working lands.
“Extending the deadline will give producers more time to complete their applications and have a greater chance of getting conservation funding during this fiscal year,” said Assistant State Conservationist for Programs, Jeff Harlow.
While NRCS programs operate on a year-round signup basis, and producers can file applications at any time, periodic ranking deadlines are established so applications on file at that time can be evaluated for the next available funding allocation.
Applicants must provide a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number, be registered in the System for Award Management (SAM), and maintain an active registration with current information prior to applying for funding and to remain eligible for payments under a funded contract. For more information regarding SAM and DUNS, or if interested in applying for EQIP funding, contact your local NRCS field office.