For agricultural land and non-industrial private forestland producers interested in applying for farm bill conservation program financial assistance in Fiscal Year 2014, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Tennessee has set Friday, December 20, 2013, as the signup cutoff date for first evaluation funding consideration.
Pending the availability of funds, additional evaluation periods may occur and cutoff dates will be posted on the Tennessee website at http://www.tn.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/. The application deadline applies to the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and EQIP National Initiatives and the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) and WHIP National Initiatives.
"When landowners take part in conservation cost share programs, the funds filter through the community, and the initial investment rolls over several times, benefitting the whole area," said Kevin Brown, Tennessee NRCS State Conservationist. The funds from both EQIP and WHIP help farmers improve the natural resources on private working lands in Tennessee. Conservation practices help the environment while also making the land more productive by addressing issues like water quantity, water and air quality, wildlife habitat, and soil health.
Eligible producers with a conservation plan for their operation receive priority for financial assistance. NRCS staff is available to help producers create conservation plans. Only projects that are "ready to implement" will be ranked for funding. Applications can be submitted anytime throughout the year.
NRCS's conservation programs address resource concerns such as soil erosion, soil health, irrigation efficiency, impaired water quality and fragmented wildlife habitat. EQIP, one of NRCS's largest conservation programs, helps eligible producers plan and implement conservation practices that provide opportunities to improve soil, water, plant, animal, energy, air and related resources on agricultural land and non-industrial private forestland.
For additional information, eligible producers are encouraged to contact their local NRCS Service Center. Service center locations and more information on the programs can be found at www.tn.nrcs.usda.gov.
NRCS has provided leadership in a partnership effort to help America's private land owners and managers conserve their soil, water and other natural resources since 1935.
For program information, contact John Rissler at (615) 277-2576.